Richard Shawn Harper helped to save Brittany L. Williams from drowning, Richland Hills, Texas, March 13, 2009. Brittany, 9, entered a concrete-lined drainage ditch and was swept by the swift water it carried into a belowground chamber, from which the water flowed into a large culvert. Harper, 38, sales associate, was in a vehicle that was passing through the vicinity when he was alerted to the accident. He entered the ditch, proceeded toward the chamber, and then slid into it. Bracing himself with his feet against the chamber wall to the side of the culvert, Harper grasped Brittany and held her against his chest, thereby protecting her from the onrushing water. After holding to Brittany for several minutes in the 55-degree water, arriving firefighters lowered a ladder and one end of a line to them. They removed Brittany from the chamber and then Harper. Both were taken to the hospital for treatment of hypothermia, and they recovered.
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