Joseph Loring Kochis saved Patricia E. Hunter from drowning, Hamilton, Montana, July 13, 1968. While swimming in an irrigation ditch, Patricia, 10, was caught by the strong current and carried into a culvert in which the water was about five end a half feet deep, but her passage through it was blocked by an accumulation of debris. She tried in vain to break through, surfacing at times in an air space of five inches at the top of the culvert. The shouts of other children at the ditch attracted Kochis, 40, operating engineer, and he ran 750 feet to it. Without removing any of his attire, which included boots, he jumped into the water and waded to the culvert opening. He submerged, swam 12 feet into the culvert, and reached the debris barrier in complete darkness. Patricia still was trying to break through. Kochis secured footing and got his breath in the air space. He then submerged and with effort dug a hole in the debris. After thrusting Patricia through the opening, Kochis then raised his face for air. The current swept Patricia out of the culvert, and she was aided from the water by others. Kochis tried to enlarge the opening in the debris so he could get through. Failing to do so, he started back to the end of the culvert where he had entered. Swimming against the strong current required much effort, and he was nearly exhausted when he emerged from the culvert.
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