Robert Haye helped to save Kyle A. Nickell from drowning, West Carrollton, Ohio, June 22, 2003. Nickell, 18, was operating a personal watercraft on the Great Miami River when he and the craft went over a low-head dam and became caught in the rolling boil of water at the base of the dam. Haye, 36, operations manager, and others witnessed the accident and responded to a point on the bank below the dam. Haye entered the water and against the strong current waded toward the dam, stopping at a point opposite Nickell, who was in the approximate center of the river. Wearing a life jacket and carrying a 60-foot length of his boat’s anchor line, another man who had witnessed the accident waded into the river and joined Haye. He clipped one end of the line to his jacket and, with Haye holding the rest of the line, waded and swam through the turbulent water toward Nickell, who, by then submerged and unconscious, was about 40 feet away. Bracing himself on a rock, the man looked for Nickell and, finding him, pulled him to the surface. Haye then pulled on the line to get the man and Nickell from the boil and to wadable water. He and the other man, holding Nickell, returned to the bank, where they were helped out of the river. Nickell sustained a cut and scratches and had swallowed water. He was hospitalized overnight, and he recovered. Haye was exhausted, and he too recovered.
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