Louis J. Knauff attempted to save Joseph W. McCabe and Michael J. Gerner from drowning, Atlantic City, New Jersey, May 7, 1964. Ten-year-old schoolboys Joseph and Michael paddled a small rowboat in the Intracoastal Waterway to a point 150 feet from the bank, where it began to sink in deep water. Knauff, 35, mechanical equipment operator, was driving by and heard the boys calling for help. Sending a companion to summon aid, Knauff entered the extremely cold water almost fully clothed and swam toward the boat, which sank. Joseph and Michael flailed wildly and were submerged briefly several times before Knauff reached them. He grasped one boy in each hand and attempted to swim south with them but could make no progress. Knauff tired quickly as the result of the cold water and his efforts to support both boys. When one boy slipped from his grasp and sank, Knauff was unable to locate him. Floating on his back, he supported the other boy with his legs and tried to swim toward the bank but still could make no headway. Others were attracted, and two men launched a rowboat. Before they reached Knauff, the other boy slipped from his grasp and sank. Knauff was numb and nearly unconscious when the men arrived. They were unable to lift Knauff into the boat. Four other men swam to them, lifted Knauff aboard, and pushed the boat to the bank. Knauff was hospitalized and recovered. The bodies of Michael and Joseph were recovered by divers.
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