W. Howard Auerswald saved George G. Hattersley and David M. DiPietro from drowning, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, February 22, 1964. DiPietro, 21, automobile repairman, who was scuba diving in the Atlantic Ocean with Hattersley, 22, aircraft mechanic, and another young man was 1,300 feet from shore in water 22 feet deep when he found the air was escaping from his tank. He grasped Hattersley, and in the ensuing struggle both were cut by a knife attached to DiPietro’s wrist. While the other young man held DiPietro’s diving gear, which they had removed from him, Hattersley swam toward the beach but became tired 500 feet from shore and called for help. Auerswald, 38, packing company president, undressed to his undershorts and entered the water although he was not feeling well. He swam through waves two feet high to Hattersley, who was floundering wildly, and towed him 200 feet toward the beach. Hattersley said he could get ashore himself from there and urged Auerswald to aid the others. Hattersley continued to the beach while Auerswald swam 1,000 feet to the other two young men, passing two Portuguese men-of-war and watching for sharks which bad been seen in the area. The other young man said he could look after himself if Auerswald aided DiPietro who was near exhaustion and bleeding profusely from a cut on his band. Auerswald found he had to use both hands to keep DiPietro’s head from dipping under water. Swimming only with his feet, Auerswald towed DiPietro shoreward, leaving a trail of blood. The other young man swam nearby. Auerswald tired rapidly, and twice he lost his hold on DiPietro briefly. Swimming slowly to conserve his strength, Auerswald towed DiPietro to within 50 feet of shore, aided by breakers but impeded by a strong undertow. Nearly exhausted, Auerswald secured footing in wadable water and took DiPietro to the beach. All recovered.
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