Michael C. Joseph, 18, laborer, saved Ruphard C. Stephens, aged 43, chef, from drowning, Sutter, California, February l3, 1965. When their boat capsized in a channel of the Sutter By-Pass, Stephens and his wife, both heavily clothed, were thrown into very cold water eight feet deep 20 feet from each bank. They were submerged, and only Mrs. Stephens returned to the surface. Kicking and flailing, she called for help. Joseph and James R. Briggs were flying low over the area in a small airplane and saw Mrs. Stephens struggling in the water. Briggs landed the plane near the channel on a flooded road. He and Joseph ran to the bank, undressing to their underwear. Joseph then saw Stephens floating face down just beneath the surface 15 feet from the opposite bank. Although he still was recuperating from injuries to his nose due to an automobile accident, Joseph lunged into the cold water. He had difficulty in breathing as he swam to Stephens and drew him to the surface. Swimming 20 feet diagonally across the current, Joseph towed Stephens to the steep bank, which rose four feet and was of slippery mud. Joseph held Stephens at the surface and clung to the limb of an overhanging tree. Meanwhile Briggs entered the water and swam toward Mrs. Stephens, who had moved toward the opposite bank but was nearly exhausted. Urging her to be calm, Briggs towed her 10 feet to the bank. He also held to a tree limb. Joseph and Briggs tried in vain to climb the slippery bank. They then supported Stephens and his wife for 15 minutes until a motorboat arrived. In it all four persons were taken across the channel to the less steep bank. Stephens and his wife were treated at a hospital, where Stephens was revived.
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