William R. Jeavons saved Jacques L. Rivette from drowning, Waterford, New York, January 26, 1964. Jacques, 7, who could not swim, fell from atop a wall along the bank of the Mohawk River and landed on ice about six inches thick. A piece of ice 10 feet in diameter broke off under him and began to float downstream. Jacques sat on the ice cake, which was forced farther from the bank as other floating pieces of ice bumped it. A neighbor ran to the river’s edge downstream from Jacques, who by then was 80 feet from the bank. The man made his way onto ice which was jammed at the bank as much as three feet high and attempted in vain to throw one end of a clothesline to Jacques. Volunteer firemen, including Jeavons, 32, welder, arrived. They carried a 20-foot ladder to the river’s edge and extended it from the bank atop the ice jam. Jeavons crawled to the end of the ladder and then tried without success to move it ahead of him. He walked 10 feet farther from the bank and, finding the ice ahead too slushy for support, jumped two feet onto a large piece of floating ice. He continued working his way farther from the bank, jumping from one piece of ice to another in areas of slush and open water as much as 40 feet deep where the floating ice was constantly shifting in the current. A hundred and twenty feet from the bank, Jeavons reached a large cake of ice five feet from the one on which Jacques was riding. Jeavons lunged into the water, reached the ice cake, and after one unsuccessful attempt was able to climb onto it. Noting that a section of the ice jam farther downstream extended farther from the bank, Jeavons shouted to the other men to move to that area. As the men carried the ladder to the end of the ice jam extension, Jeavons maneuvered the ice cake toward the bank and at the same time pushed away other floating ice. A large piece of ice bumped sharply against the ice cake. Jeavons grasped Jacques and held him as the ice cake tipped. He then continued maneuvering the ice cake, moving it to within 10 feet of the end of the ice jam extension. The men extended one end of the ladder to Jeavons. He held the ladder, and Jacques crawled over it to the men, who took him to the bank. Jeavons followed across the ladder and walked to the bank.
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