John P. Kasper III helped to save James Burke from drowning, Scituate, Massachusetts, April 30, 2001. At night, Burke, 21, and his brother struggled to stay afloat in Massachusetts Bay of the Atlantic Ocean after the boat they had been using capsized in the 44-degree water at a point about a quarter-mile from shore. They began to scream for help. On shore in the vicinity, Kasper, 43, carpenter, and a friend heard them. Concluding that the victims required immediate aid, Kasper and his friend obtained a six-foot kayak from a house nearby and responded to the beach with it. Although unable to see the men in the darkness, Kasper entered the kayak and paddled toward them, guided at first by their screaming, which then stopped. When Kasper reached them, he and Burke grasped and held to each other, Burke’s brother submerging. As they awaited help, Kasper worked to keep Burke conscious. A fire department rescue boat arrived several minutes later, took Burke aboard, and returned him to shore, Kasper following in the kayak. Burke required hospitalization; his brother was not found. Kasper was cold following the rescue but uninjured.
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