William L. Riverman, 33, telephone repairman, saved Helenmae Duff, 42, and Linda J. Hays, 14, from drowning, Tillamook, Oregon, August 13, 1965. While bathing in surf in the Pacific Ocean, Miss Hays got into a trench in which the water was five feet deep between waves four to six feet high. Due to the current from water moving seaward in the trench, she was unable to make progress toward shore. Mrs. Duff waded into the trench and reached Miss Hays 200 feet from shore. They held to each other as the waves washed over them. Riverman, a poor swimmer, removed his jacket and slippers and entered the water with a plastic air mattress six feet long. He waded and swam to the trench. Miss Hays then was supporting Mrs. Duff, who was unconscious. Riverman and Miss Hays pulled Mrs. Duff onto the mattress. With Miss Hays at one side and Riverman at the other they held Mrs. Duff in position and tried without success to swim toward the beach. Three high waves then moved them shoreward. Twice Miss Hays lost her hold on the mattress, but Riverman pulled her back to it each time. With Riverman and Miss Hays paddling at each side of the mattress, they moved 100 feet toward shore and found footing in wadable water. With effort they waded to within 20 feet of shore, from where others aided them to the beach. Mrs. Duff was revived.
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