Peter James Benedict helped to save Michael D. LaSala, Josiah S. Thompson, and Sheralyn J. Wellman from drowning and helped attempt to save Anna E. Wright, Ellisburg, New York, July 15, 2007. On a swimming outing, friends Michael, 16; Josiah, 15; Sheralyn, 13; and Anna, 17, were unable to return to shore against the strong current and six-foot waves in Lake Ontario at the mouth of Sandy Creek. On shore in the vicinity, Benedict, 33, manager, and his brother-in-law were alerted to the situation and set out from the creek in search of the teens in a 14-foot aluminum boat that was equipped with an outboard motor. Fighting the pounding waves, the men located Michael at a point about 750 feet from shore and pulled him aboard. Although water was entering the boat, they searched for the others, spotting Josiah and Sheralyn in the troughs between the waves about 125 feet away. Taking the boat toward them, the men threw Sheralyn a life jacket and pulled Josiah aboard. Benedict entered the water to support Sheralyn after he and his brother-in-law concluded that the boat had reached its capacity under the conditions. For several minutes Benedict remained with Sheralyn, the waves submerging them repeatedly, as the brother-in-law took Michael and Josiah to shore. He then returned to Sheralyn and Benedict, Benedict aiding Sheralyn into the boat before boarding himself. The men took Sheralyn to safety and again headed out into the lake, to search for Anna. Unsuccessful, they returned to shore. Anna’s body was found two days later.
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