John M. Quilty saved Steve Barbais from drowning, Boston, Massachusetts, February 21, 1935. While a ferry boat was moored in Boston Harbor in a slip off the end of Eastern Avenue, Barbais, 40, jumped six feet down from the deck at the outer end into water 20 feet deep. John, 17, schoolboy, flung a ring life preserver from the deck to within a few feet of Barbais. Noting that Barbais made no effort to get hold of it, he removed his coat and dived to a point close to Barbais. Supporting him with one arm, John swam a few feet to the life preserver. Holding to it, he swam five or six feet toward a ladder that was extended from the boat, but then he noted that the ladder was beyond his reach. Treading water, he became affected by the cold water, and Barbais almost slipped out of his grasp . In regaining a firm hold, John released the life preserver and dipped under the surface. The life preserver drifted away from him. Still supporting Barbais, John with difficulty then swam toward a tugboat that was backing toward them, but agitation of the water by the propeller caused John and Barbais to drift under the overhang of the ferry boat. The tugboat was stopped near them, and a ladder was extended from it aslant 12 to 15 feet toward John. Supporting Barbais, John swam five or six feet to the ladder and men pulled Barbais and then John on board.
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