John Willsher died after helping to save Bryan M. Bates from drowning, New Haven, Connecticut, February 11, 1995. After Bryan, 7, and another boy broke through the ice covering the West River where it entered Lily Pond, Willsher, 57, plumber, was one of several people who responded to the scene. As Willsher crawled across the ice toward Bryan, the ice gave way beneath him and he too was immersed in the frigid water. Willsher maneuvered to Bryan, grasped him, then struggled toward the bank. Holding to one end of a line while maintaining his grasp of Bryan, Willsher was pulled atop solid ice by another man. He then lost consciousness. Efforts by those at the scene to revive him were not successful. Willsher, Bryan, and the second boy, who had been rescued by others, were taken to the hospital. Bryan and the other boy recovered from hypothermia, but Willsher died.
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