Nanette L. Johnson saved Mary Jane Murray and Kathleen D. Hayes from drowning, Mayfield, New York, July 25, 1960. A motorboat towing Mrs. Johnson, 34, housewife, on a water ski on Sacandaga Reservoir struck a smaller boat in which Mary Jane, 16, and Kathleen, 13, were riding. The larger craft tore a hole in the smaller boat, passed over it, and stopped 100 feet beyond. Mary Jane and Kathleen were severely injured and lost consciousness; but a man, his wife, and their child in the rear seat were uninjured and clung to the projecting bow of the sunken boat. Of the three occupants of the larger craft, the girl was knocked unconscious briefly and one of the two youths was thrown into the water. Mrs. Johnson, 34, housewife, who was wearing a ski-belt, released her towline, and momentum carried her to where Mary Jane and Kathleen were submerged. Both girls were bleeding profusely. In removing her ski, Mrs. Johnson submerged, noted the extensive injuries of the girls, and then surfaced between them. Grasping the hair of the two girls, whose total weight was 125 pounds more than her own, Mrs. Johnson raised their heads above water. All three then sank five feet. Maintaining her holds, Mrs. Johnson thrust hard with her legs, surfaced, and again lifted the heads of the girls above water. A boat approached but left without giving aid. Mrs. Johnson and the girls again sank. By forceful leg thrusts, Mrs. Johnson surfaced with the two girls. Kathleen then began thrashing. Mrs. Johnson released her and attempted without success to put a kapok cushion under Mary Jane. As Kathleen started to sink, Mrs. Johnson quickly grasped her by the hair again. A second boat approached and threw out several life jackets, but all fell far short. Tired and winded, Mrs. Johnson called for assistance as she and the girls again sank. With great effort Mrs. Johnson surfaced, gasping for breath and near exhaustion but still holding the girls. She supported them with difficulty as a third boat reached them. Mrs. Johnson by then had had full support of both girls for about five minutes. The boatman and Mrs. Johnson, aided by the man from the wrecked craft, lifted Mary Jane into the rescue boat. The youth who had been thrown into the water then swam to them and steadied the boat as Kathleen was lifted into it. The man, his wife, and child also climbed aboard. Mrs. Johnson and the youth were picked up by another boat. Mary Jane and Kathleen were hospitalized and underwent extensive surgery. Mary Jane died the following day, but Kathleen recovered in 13 weeks.
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