Shane Cooper died helping attempt to save Thomas L. Stewart from drowning, Cookeville, Tennessee, January 23, 2002. Stewart, 20, was one of a three-man public-works crew dispatched to a residential neighborhood to attend to flash flooding after a period of heavy rain. Wearing chest-high waders, he was swept feet first into one of two adjacent 36-inch pipes that took the rushing floodwater beneath a road surface. Able to cling to the edge of the pipe but nearly submerged, he called for help. His two coworkers responded immediately, one of them entering the flooded area to grasp and secure Stewart. Other public works employees responded, as did Cooper, 26, cable installer, who was driving by. Cooper entered the flooded area but was almost immediately swept through the adjacent pipe. The level of the water rose, submerging Stewart. Arriving rescue personnel secured the coworker and, after extended effort, removed him from the flooded area. Cooper’s body, as well as that of Stewart, were recovered hours later. They had drowned.
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