Lewis M. Johnson III died attempting to save James D. Mobley from drowning, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, April 15, 1964. When a water works crew cut into two pieces a large tree trunk lodged atop a dam in Conestoga Creek, a section 16 feet long and four feet in diameter drifted over the dam and was caught in a backlash of water six feet deep, where it rotated slowly five feet below the dam. With a line tied around him and held by others on the bank, Mobley, 36, assistant operator at a water works, made his way to an abutment of the dam and jumped three feet onto the log. Unable to retain his footing, Mobley fell into the water. His line became caught and was wound around the log as it continued to rotate slowly, dragging him in and out of the water. Johnson, 34, toolmaker, removed his shoes and tied another line about his waist. With the other men holding the line, he made his way to the abutment and jumped onto the log, which three times had carried Mobley in and out of the water as it continued rolling. Johnson used his feet to halt the turning of the log, sat astride it, and attempted to untie the line from Mobley, who was inert. The log again rolled, and both Johnson and Mobley were submerged. Mobley’s line also became wrapped around Johnson, and both were carried over the rotating log and under water again. By pulling on the two lines, the other men freed Johnson and Mobley from the log and drew them to the bank. Both had drowned.
47173 – 484547173-4845