John L. Bell helped to save Arthur B. Rivers from drowning, Swansboro, North Carolina, August 13, 1931. While wading in the Atlantic Ocean at Bear Beach, Rivers, 33, lost his footing in rough water and a strong undertow and was carried to a point far from the shore. A man and a boy, each pushing a life preserver ahead of him, swam out to Rivers and positioned one of the life preservers to support him. Nearly exhausted, they used the other preserver initially as they swam with great difficulty back to shore. While clinging to the life preserver, Rivers drifted to a point about 500 feet from shore. Bell, 33, boatman, cautiously waded through very rough water on a shoal area to a point about 350 feet from shore and with great exertion swam 150 feet to Rivers. He swam and towed Rivers through very rough water about 150 feet to wadable water and then waded, dragging Rivers, 50 feet to shallower water. Others helped him to take Rivers to shore. Bell was greatly fatigued.
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