Leland K. Umberger helped to save George A. Stahl from drowning, Auburn, California, May 30, 1960. George, 8, who could not swim, lost his footing while wading and was swept into the main channel of the American River, where he alternately sank and rose 30 feet from each bank as the swift current carried him downstream. Leland, 16, schoolboy, removed his shoes and then waded and swam 60 feet to overtake George, who was floundering wildly in water six to seven feet deep. George threw both arms around Leland’s neck and locked both legs about his thighs. Leland tried to swim toward the bank with George but could not do so, and both drifted toward a dangerous narrow channel of the river. George continued to hold to Leland, who began to tire and called for assistance. At times he tried in vain to secure footing as his feet brushed rocks on the river bed. Two men who were good swimmers entered the water farther downstream. They waded and swam to midstream, where they secured footing in water four feet deep by engaging a boulder with their feet. Leland, supporting George, was carried 900 feet downstream to the first man. He took George from Leland, who with the aid of the second man also secured footing. Because the current was too swift for the men to return to the bank with George and Leland, a number of other men formed a chain, waded into shallow water, and threw one end of a line to them. George and Leland were tied to the line, and the two men held to it. The others then pulled and with difficulty succeeded in getting all four persons to the bank. George was badly dazed, and Leland was nearly exhausted. They recovered.
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