Richard M. Leiter, Jr., 22, laborer, saved Gary Plonka, 20, from drowning, Fall River, Massachusetts, November 26, 1964. At night while driving across a bridge over the Taunton River, Leiter saw Plonka climb over the bridge railing and drop into water 50 feet deep. Leiter got out of his automobile in the rain and ran to the railing. He could not see Plonka but heard him call for help. Removing his raincoat and shoes, Leiter climbed over the railing and jumped into cold water 40 feet below, where he was submerged. He surfaced near a bridge pier and swam 15 feet to Plonka, who was flailing wildly. They drifted with the strong tidal current as Plonka fought off Leiter’s rescue attempts and was submerged briefly several times. Leiter then secured a bold on Plonka’s hair and towed him 40 feet diagonally across the current to a dolphin near the pier. Although Plonka intermittently struggled to break away, Leiter held him against the dolphin. Leiter was fatigued by the time police arrived in a boat and took them aboard.
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