Karl Davidson saved Mary P. Herndon, and helped to save John R. Burch from drowning, Panama City Beach, Florida, September 23, 1961. Miss Herndon, 19, who could not swim, and Burch, 20, student x-ray technician, a poor swimmer, while wading at a beach on the Gulf of Mexico were carried into deep water by an undercurrent. They called for help as they were submerged intermittently. Davidson, 74, retired newspaper circulation manager, who suffered with arthritis in his knees, hurried 350 feet to the water’s edge. Clad in walking shorts, he waded and swam 120 feet to Miss Herndon and Burch. Miss Herndon held briefly to Davidson, but Burch grasped him around the neck and forced him beneath the surface. In breaking the hold of Burch, Davidson’s exertions caused his shorts to slide to around his ankles. When they surfaced, Davidson thrust Burch toward H. Kerrigan Maughon, who by that time also had swam from shore to within 15 feet of them. Davidson then began towing Miss Herndon slowly toward shore with difficulty, using only one hand for propulsion and handicapped by his arthritic condition and the shorts about his ankles. Maughon reached Burch, who threw both arms around his neck and submerged him. Breaking free under water, Maughon surfaced behind Burch, grasped him under the chin, and began towing him toward shore. Burch squirmed free and grasped Maughon but released his hold when Maughon submerged briefly. Regaining his hold on Burch, who then became calm, Maughon towed him 90 feet to wadable water, from where a young woman aided in taking him to the beach. Maughon waded back into the water and met Davidson after the latter had towed Miss Herndon 90 feet. All waded ashore.
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