John F. Gosson, Jr., saved William G. Mixter, 8, and Roland Ravenel, Jr., 10, schoolboys, from drowning, Fall River, Massachusetts, January 4, 1964. When he and William,started to walk across the ice-covered Quequechan River, Roland broke through into deep water 50 feet from the bank but clung to the edge of the ice. William, who could not swim, broke through 15 feet from Roland and floundered wildly. Gosson, 26, building custodian, was attracted and cautiously made his way on the ice to near the boys as William was submerged briefly several times. In a prone position Gosson crawled to within five feet of William. Holding one end of his jacket, he threw the other end to William, who finally secured a firm hold on it. Gosson drew William to the edge of the ice, which then broke off. William lost his hold on the jacket and sank. Turning around, Gosson slid into the hole feet first. He probed the water, drew William to the surface, and tried to lift him onto the ice, but it again broke off. Holding William with one arm, Gosson broke the ice between the two holes to alongside Roland. When Gosson tried to lift William onto the ice, it broke off there. Still holding William, Gosson used one arm to break a path in the ice for 40 feet toward the bank and obtained insecure footing. Roland held to the ice at the edge of the path and followed Gosson, who lifted both boys onto the ice and continued to the bank with them.
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