Jonathan Edward Openshaw died attempting to save Donald J. Till from suffocation, Boron, California, December 14, 1962. In order to make tests in a steel tank built by his company for use at Edwards Air Force Base, Till, 30, field engineer, lowered himself to a ladder under the tank’s top opening, which was four feet deep and tapered to 20 inches in diameter at the bottom. Another man and Openshaw, 53, equipment inspector, had accompanied Till to the tank, which had been filled with a 98 per cent concentration of nitrogen to absorb all moisture. Till wore a safety harness with a rope attached, but before he could pull his mask and air tank through the narrow opening he lost consciousness and fell 40 feet to the bottom of the tank, although Openshaw and the other man by means of the rope slowed his descent appreciably. Openshaw and the other man pulled Till back up, but he had slumped forward and could not be drawn through the opening. Breathing heavily from the exertion of helping to raise Till, Openshaw lowered himself into the opening. The other men held the rope but lowered Till slightly. Openshaw took a deep breath and descended the ladder into the tank, where he straightened Till so he could be lifted through the opening. The other man began drawing Till upward and then heard Openshaw fall to the bottom of the tank. Others arrived and assisted in removing Till, but he could not be revived. Openshaw also was removed but he was dead.
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