William F. Stephenson, 38, tack maker, saved A. Ira Harkness, 43, store manager, from drowning, Fairhaven, Massachusetts, January 18, 1930. Harkness was driving his automobile on a bridge over the Acushnet River when the automobile skidded, crashed through the railing, and dropped into the river. He rose to the surface and drifted away from the bridge in a current of 2 to 3 m.p.h. There was a wind of 30 m.p.h., causing choppy waves six to eight inches high. Stephenson dived from the bridge, swam five feet to a life preserver that had been thrown from the bridge, and swam toward Harkness. Additional rope was tied to the rope of the life preserver, but it soon parted. Stephenson swam 150 feet to Harkness, who was nearly exhausted. Stephenson also was nearly exhausted, but he put the life preserver over one of Harkness’s arms. He tried to swim toward the bridge, towing Harkness, but could not make progress against the current. Although his fingers were numb and stiff, he supported Harkness with great effort and from time to time kept the life preserver from slipping from Harkness’s arm. After drifting together for 200 feet, they were reached by two motorboats. Both were temporarily exhausted.
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