Michael R. Lewis, 19, student, saved Richard J. Wentz, 17, and George T. Burke, 19, schoolboys, from drowning, Capitola, California, March 2, 1958. In heavy surf in Monterey Bay, Wentz, on an inflated canvas mattress, and Burke, who was clinging to it, got into difficulty 400 feet from shore over a gully in which there was a very strong undercurrent. As the two youths drifted farther from shore, a man with a rope tied about him and held by others on the beach waded 200 feet into the surf but could go no farther because of the heavy breakers, which were six to ten feet high. Two boats also started to the aid of the youths but turned back. Lewis, who had not entered the water because it was too rough, ran 200 feet into the surf, put on a pair of rubber swim fins, and then swam through the heavy breakers toward Wentz and Burke. He encountered the undercurrent but with added effort continued to the youths, who by then had passed the breaker area and were 900 feet from shore in water 20 feet deep between swells six feet high. Wentz and Burke followed the instructions of Lewis and took hold of his shorts while retaining their holds on the mattress. Lewis towed Wentz and Burke shoreward against the undercurrent and through the breakers and began to tire rapidly. With great exertion he passed the edge of the gully and towed the youths to within 200 feet of shore, where the man with the rope tied to him grasped the mattress. Wentz and Burke released their holds on Lewis and were drawn with the mattress to the beach. Lewis waded ashore.
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