Robert Arthur Swanson saved Marty A. Bair and Richard B. and John K. Suryk from being struck by a barge, Burlington, Iowa, July 26, 1987. Bair, 31; Richard Suryk, 35, and his son, John, 4, were aboard a motorboat that was stalled in the Mississippi River as a group of barges bore down on them. Bair jumped from the boat but held onto it. In another boat nearby, Swanson, 44, machinist foreman, sped to the disabled boat as the barges drew nearer. He grasped a rope from the disabled boat and, after Bair had transferred his hold to Swanson’s boat, towed the disabled boat clear of all but one of the barges. Despite being hit, the boat remained afloat. After pulling Bair aboard, Swanson maneuvered his boat close to the passing barges, retrieved the rope, and towed the disabled boat clear of the barges. Swanson helped Suryk and John into his boat, then took them and Bair to the safety of the river bank.
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