Richard L. Guerin helped to save Constant P. Ciuchta from drowning, Dudley, Massachusetts, February 26, 1957. While walking on ice-covered High Pond, Ciuchta, 36, broke through the ice into water 15 feet deep at a point about 75 feet from the nearest bank. His efforts to climb out only enlarged the hole, and he called for help. Guerin, 30, a police officer from a neighboring municipality, responded to the scene with a 100-foot line to which a grappling hook was attached. He was joined by another man, and they threw the hook to the hole. Ciuchta reached for it but lost consciousness and sank. Guerin then ran across the ice and crawled to the edge of the hole, but the ice gave way beneath him and he fell into the water. Submerging, he located Ciuchta and brought him back to the surface. The other man threw the line to Guerin, who grasped it while supporting Ciuchta. By then others had arrived at the bank, and they attempted to pull Ciuchta and Guerin from the hole. Guerin’s arm was jerked violently against the ice, causing him to lose his holds on the line and on Ciuchta, who again sank. Guerin brought him back to the surface. Meanwhile, one of the other men took a rope across the ice to the hole, but the ice there gave way beneath him. He too fell into the water but maintained his hold on the rope. Supporting himself by straddling the grappling hook, Guerin raised Ciuchta’s arm out of the water, and the other man fastened the rope around it. Assisted by Guerin, the other man climbed out of the hole and then aided in pulling Ciuchta from the water. Guerin was then pulled onto the ice. As Ciuchta was drawn to the bank, the other man collapsed from near exhaustion but was aided to the bank by Guerin. Ciuchta was hospitalized for a week, and Guerin was treated for multiple lacerations and bruises and a respiratory infection. They recovered.
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