Michael Joseph Towle, Jr., helped to save a man from drowning, Santa Cruz, California, November 14, 2006. A 23-year-old man was climbing on rocks that formed that part of the shore of the Pacific Ocean when he slipped and fell into turbulent water. Breaking waves battered him against the rocks, and the 52-degree water sapped his strength. Nearby, Towle, 22, college student, was alerted to the situation. He removed his outer attire and began to climb down to the water, but he slipped midway and fell, hitting the rocks hard before landing in the rough surf. Bruised and somewhat dazed, Towle swam to the man, secured a hold on him, then took him to a large, exposed rock about 60 feet from shore to get out of the breaking waves. Towle and the man clung to the rock to await help but were soon washed from it. Others on shore threw out a life ring attached to a rope. Towle swam to the ring and gave it to the man, then swam alongside him as those on shore pulled him in. Arriving rescue personnel lifted the man to safety. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of lacerations and contusions, and he recovered. Towle was treated at the scene for lacerations and contusions and then later went to the hospital, where it was found he had fractured his left wrist during the rescue. Treatment of the fracture required surgery.
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