King Wood, aged forty-seven, construction superintendent, saved Donald G. Walker and Timothy G. Walker from drowning, Columbia, Alabama, June 1, 1967. A motorboat containing Donald, 29, restaurant chain manager, his son Timothy, 4, and his father D. Glenn Walker was caught in an eddy in the Chattahoochee River and swept into white water boil below the open gates of a dam, where the craft capsized. Timothy was trapped beneath the overturned boat in an air pocket, and his head was held above water by his life jacket. Donald and Glenn were thrown into the boil and were churned under, striking rocks on the river bottom. After surfacing briefly, they reappeared 50 feet apart and were swept from the boil into a very turbulent area with a strong current and waves generally two and a half feet high. Wood piloted his wooden boat, equipped with a 30 horsepower motor, into the turbulent area, and reached Donald in water 10 feet deep. At the same time Jimmy L. Downer and L. Paul Marchman took their plywood boat, which was smaller and had a 15 horsepower motor, into the turbulent area and reached Glenn 50 feet nearer the boil. Wood put his motor in neutral, and the boat drifted with the current as he aided Donald aboard. When Donald tried to reenter the water to look for his son, Wood had to use force to restrain him. Wood then started the motor and intercepted the overturned boat as it was being carried downstream. He called out, and Timothy answered. Wood again put his boat in neutral and told Donald to hold the capsized craft by its bow line as both boats drifted with the current. Entering the water, Wood surfaced in the air pocket beneath the overturned boat and located Timothy but could not remove him because he was entangled in the steering cables. Feeling that Timothy was in a fairly safe position, Wood reassured the boy and returned to his own boat. He reported the situation to Donald and said they should tow the capsized boat to safe water before righting it. Wood started his motor again and towed the inverted craft to shallow water near the bank. Meanwhile Downer, in water 10 feet deep in the turbulent area, had put his boat in neutral. He and Marchman obtained holds on Glenn, who had lost consciousness. As their boat drifted with the strong current, the two men tried to raise Glenn from the water but had great difficulty because of his weight. The boat tilted precariously and shipped some water as with much effort they pulled Glenn aboard. Downer reactivated the motor and followed Wood to the shallow water, where the overturned craft was righted and Timothy was freed from the cables. Glenn revived, and all recovered.
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