Patricia Schaeffer helped to save Dewey R. Gallese from drowning, New York, New York, April 25, 1995. Gallese, 45, floated unconscious in the East River after falling from a seawall along the river bank. Working nearby, Ms. Schaeffer, 45, sanitation enforcement agent, was alerted, and she responded to the seawall. Ms. Schaeffer immediately removed her boots and jacket and, although she was a poor swimmer, jumped 15 feet into the river from the top of the wall. She dog-paddled about 35 feet to Gallese, then grasped his collar and returned to the wall, towing him. With difficulty, Ms. Schaeffer turned Gallese onto his back, then clung to the wall while awaiting help, at one point submerging and swallowing water. After several minutes, emergency medical technicians arrived, and two of them joined Ms. Schaeffer in the water. They secured Ms. Schaeffer, who was weakening, with a line, then strapped Gallese to a rescue board. After Gallese was pulled from the river, Ms. Schaeffer left it, with assistance, as did the two medical technicians. Gallese was hospitalized but died 13 days later. Ms. Schaeffer also required hospital treatment, for having nearly drowned, and she recovered.
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