Juan G. Nicholas helped to save Alijandro de los Santos from suffocation, Honolulu, Hawaii, October 28, 1961. When he fell into a ship’s hold containing approximately 2,000 tons of loose corn kernels, de los Santos, 45, stevedore, was pulled downward with great force into the corn by suction created by a motor-powered unloader which was drawing the kernels up from the bottom through a metal pipe. Nicholas, 54, stevedore, who had witnessed the accident, jumped into the crater formed by the sliding corn and grasped the trouser belt of de los Santos, who then was buried to his thighs. The belt broke as the suction of the corn pulled de los Santos deeper. His head then disappeared in the corn, but Nicholas grasped his exposed hand and held to it. At shouts from Nicholas, the unloader was shut off. Although the suction of the corn was halted, surface kernels on the sloping sides of the crater continued sliding toward the center. Nicholas was buried to his thighs as he dug continuously but was unable to uncover de los Santos. Four other workmen jumped into the hold to aid in digging, their impacts causing further slides. Nicholas and the others dug for two minutes to no avail. They then called for a rope, which was lowered to them attached to the hook of a winch on the deck of the ship. The rope was tied about the exposed wrist of de los Santos, and the winch slowly drew him upward from the corn until he was uncovered to the waist. The winch then was halted, and the men freed de los Santos, whose wrist was fractured and who was not breathing. Two men alternated in giving artificial respiration, and within five minutes de los Santos was breathing normally. All were removed from the hold by the winch hook. De los Santos was hospitalized and recovered in three months.
46058 – 456446058-4564