Michael V. Martindale saved Bethene R. Westil and attempted to save Cheryl L. Lawson from drowning, Shasta, California, June 13, 1965. When a cabin cruiser capsized in deep water in a lake, Bethene, 10 and Cheryl, 3, were trapped beneath the craft, but the other three persons were thrown free and then clung to the bow which projected above the surface. Two rescue boats arrived and took the others aboard. Bethene, who had risen to the surface inside the cabin and was supported by her life jacket in two feet of air space above the water, then was visible through a small porthole. Martindale, 25, highway engineering technician, among others who had arrived, learned of the situation and volunteered to try to remove the girls. Wearing only swimming trunks, Martindale dived into the cold water, came up under the cruiser, and swam through the narrow doorway into the flooded cabin. He surfaced alongside Bethene in the air pocket, where he noticed that gasoline fumes were strong. Bethene was semiconscious. Martindale placed his hand over her mouth and nose and submerged with her to a cabin window. With some difficulty because of Bethene’s life jacket, Martindale pushed her through the window opening. She rose to the surface and was taken aboard one of the rescue boats. Meanwhile Martindale again surfaced in the air pocket to look for Cheryl. He inhaled gasoline fumes and began to lose consciousness. In some manner he left the cabin and returned to the surface. He was only semiconscious when aided out of the water. Bethene and Martindale recovered quickly. The body of Cheryl was found beneath the cruiser’s flying bridge when the craft later was righted.
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