Robert Daniel Pleffner saved Tzipora Breuer and Chaya R. Grunwald from drowning, Kingston, New York, June 23, 1993. Tzipora, 14; Chaya, 13, and another girl were wading in a lagoon connected to the Hudson River when they lost their footing and were carried into deeper water farther into the lagoon by a strong tidal current. From nearby, Pleffner, 46, bus driver, saw the girls struggling. He immediately ran to the lagoon, where he dived into the water and swam about 450 feet with the current to Tzipora and Chaya. Pleffner and the girls were carried to a point closer to the lagoon’s opposite bank, where Pleffner pushed both girls, one at a time, to the rocks composing the bank before exiting the lagoon himself. He then ran along the bank to catch up to the third girl and re-entered the lagoon in an attempt to rescue her. By then, she had submerged; her body was recovered later that day. Tzipora and Chaya were taken to the hospital for treatment. Pleffner, nearly exhausted, was given oxygen at the scene. He continued to experience physical ill effects of the rescue, causing him to miss several days’ work.
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