Thomas V. Brennan, Jr., saved Ralph L. Wilson from drowning, Stuart, Florida, January 10, 1961. When the boat in which he was riding capsized in St. Lucie Inlet, Wilson, 55, carpenter, was injured and fell unconscious into water nine feet deep between breakers eight to 10 feet high. Brennan, 22, fishing-boat mate, was aboard another boat, the HOBO, which moved to within 30 feet of where Wilson was submerged except for one hand projecting above the surface. Brennan dived into the turbulent water and swam to Wilson. Submerging, he drew Wilson to the surface and began towing him toward the HOBO. A large breaker submerged them, and Brennan lost his hold on Wilson briefly before surfacing with him near another boat, which had arrived. With effort Brennan towed Wilson seven feet and grasped a line hanging from the boat. A large breaker then broke Brennan’s holds, and he and Wilson were submerged a second time. After regaining his hold on Wilson, Brennan surfaced with him and again grasped the line. Another breaker drove them beneath the craft and, feeling the pull of the propellers, Brennan thrust Wilson clear of the boat. He then swam after him, surfacing nearer the HOBO. Although he had taken in some water and was very tired, Brennan with effort towed Wilson to the stern of the HOBO. As others pulled Wilson aboard, the suction of the propellers drew Brennan’s legs under the hull, one of the blades brushing his foot. He pushed himself away from the stern and then was helped aboard. Wilson was revived and hospitalized a week. Brennan was near exhaustion. Both recovered.
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