Walter W. Straley, 52, telephone company president, attempted to save Henry Schmitz, 72, retired university president, from drowning, Dungeness, Washington, January 30, 1965. While wading on a gravel spit in Dungeness Bay in winds gusting up to 50 miles an hour, Schmitz lost his footing, and fell at the sloping edge of the spit. Straley ran 1,000 feet to Schmitz and took hold of him by the hand, but a surge of water moved them both away from the spit. Still holding Schmitz, Straley tried to climb the slope but could make no headway. Waves three to four feet high swept both men into deep water. Turning Schmitz so that his face was away from the waves, Straley tried in vain to tow him back to the spit. Schmitz then became inert. By that time the cold water was beginning to affect Straley. Another man swam to them and took hold of Schmitz, but the waves prevented Straley and the man from moving Schmitz toward the spit. Straley suggested that the man return to the spit and get a boat. The man did so. Meanwhile Straley trod water and supported Schmitz as the wind and waves carried them farther from the spit. The man returned with an eight-foot plastic dinghy but was carried past Straley and Schmitz by the wind and waves. The man later landed the boat. Meanwhile Straley became so cold that he had little use of his limbs, but he continued to support Schmitz. Straley had been in the water about a half an hour and had drifted 1,000 feet with Schmitz by the time a Coast Guard amphibious airplane arrived. Straley and Schmitz were taken aboard and removed to shore. Schmitz could not be revived. Straley, who was barely conscious and in shock, was hospitalized and recovered.
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