Robert H. Blackwood, II, 21, student, saved R. Noble Summersill, 6, from drowning, New Topsail Beach, North Carolina, July 21, 1956. While wading in Topsail Sound, Noble, who could not swim, stepped off a ledge and was submerged briefly in deep water. His father, a good swimmer, reached Noble but was unable to tow him back to shallow water. As the waves and current began to carry them farther from the beach, Noble’s mother, a poor swimmer, went for help. Blackwood, who was wearing bathing trunks and a shirt while fishing, was attracted and ran 700 feet to the beach opposite Noble. Unaware that the boy was clinging to his father, who meanwhile had lost consciousness and was floating face down, Blackwood entered the water and swam to Noble, reaching him 300 feet from the beach in water ten feet deep between waves 18 inches high. Noble then placed his arms around the neck of Blackwood, who began swimming toward the beach with the boy. Experiencing difficulty in swimming against the current and the waves, which broke over his head, Blackwood towed Noble 150 feet. Becoming fatigued, Blackwood called to a man on the beach to throw him a line. Informed that none was at hand, Blackwood with all his remaining strength towed Noble to shallow water, from where they were aided 15 feet to the beach. Others arrived with a boat and located Noble’s father, who could not be revived. Noble suffered a cold the following day. Blackwood was winded and nearly exhausted. They recovered.
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