Rickie D. McDowell, Jr., saved Michael L. Harris from drowning, Petoskey, Michigan, August 17, 2010. Harris, 58, was swimming in Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan off a beach at a state park when a very strong current kept him from returning to shore. After a friend swam to him but also became caught in the current, the men swam with difficulty to a buoy located about 180 feet from shore and clung to it. McDowell, 19, college student, was in another party on the beach when he was alerted to the situation. He and a friend entered the water and swam out to the men. McDowell grasped Harris by an arm and attempted to swim toward shore, but they made no progress against the current. McDowell found that he could submerge and push off the lake floor. He did so repeatedly, pushing on Harris to propel him toward shore and using oncoming waves to provide momentum. In similar fashion, McDowell’s friend aided Harris’s friend. When the rescuers reached wadable water with Harris and his friend, they were joined by others from the beach in aiding them from the lake. Harris was tired but not injured, and McDowell swallowed water and was tired and weak after the rescue, but he recovered.
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