Michael J. Smith helped to save David T. Rupke from drowning, Port Burwell, Ontario, August 4, 1989. David, 10, was swimming in Lake Erie with his family when he was caught in a strong undertow and carried farther away from shore. A man swam to him and attempted to take him in, but they were separated by large waves and David was pulled farther out. Smith, 31, maintenance mechanic, who was swimming nearby, was alerted to the situation; he got out of the water and ran to a point on the beach nearer David. Re-entering the water, Smith swam to David, who was then about 600 feet out. He grasped David but could not make progress toward shore against the current and, submerging, began to panic. Knowing there was no strong current where he was swimming previously, Smith pushed David in that direction before swimming back to shore with him. David was taken to the hospital for observation but was not injured.
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