William P. Winter, 60, rancher, saved Frank P. Button and Frank M. Dowler, both 51, automobile dealer and merchant, respectively, and attempted to save Joe F. Button, 22, student, from drowning, Lewellen, Nebraska, October 29, 1948. A motor-boat in which Joe Button, his father Frank, and Dowler were riding on Lake McConaughy swamped and capsized 1800 feet from the bank in very cold water 20 feet deep. The men held to the boat and drifted in waves three feet high moving with a wind of 30 miles an hour. Winter rowed 2200 feet to the men and assisted them into his boat. They were too weak to row or to bail water which almost filled the boat, and Winter rowed 1400 feet farther to a duck-blind, being unable to return to the bank because of the waves. All jumped into the water and obtained holds on wire mesh which enclosed the blind, as the boat swamped. Winter with difficulty climbed upon the deck of the blind three feet above water and partially tore down the wire. He tried to raise Joe upon the blind but could not and then for 45 minutes supported him. Despite Winter’s efforts, Joe was drowned by waves which broke over his head. Winter then pulled Frank Button, who was unable to help himself, onto the blind. Dowler reached a partly-submerged tree and held to it. Two men in a cabin cruiser arrived 45 minutes later and took the three men and the body of Joe, which had been secured to the blind by Winter, to the bank. Frank Button and Dowler suffered from shock and exhaustion, and Dowler was confined to a hospital for five days with a heart condition, but both recovered. Winter was exhausted and chilled and suffered from bronchitis but recovered.
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