Richard F. Bonavita, Jr., helped to save a man from drowning, Boston, Massachusetts, November 20, 1995. In an apparent suicide attempt, a 42-year-old man jumped off the Harvard Bridge into the Charles River. Bonavita, 35, deputy sheriff from a neighboring county, was traveling on the bridge when he was flagged down by a witness. Bonavita descended to the bank of the river and, removing only a sweater, entered the 40-degree water and waded and swam about 180 feet to the man. Bonavita grasped the man by the collar of his heavy coat to keep him from submerging. Becoming numb in the very cold water, Bonavita realized he would not be able to swim back to the bank. He swam instead to one of the bridge’s piers, about 20 feet away, and, maintaining his grasp of the man, established a hold on the pier. Police officers responded shortly and, from the bridge deck, lowered a life ring on a rope to Bonavita and pulled him and the man to the bank. Both Bonavita and the man required hospital treatment for hypothermia.
70211 – 801470211-8014