Selfless Heroes: 50 People Who Risked Everything to Save Others

- Sponsored Links -

1 Joe Delaney

Joe Delaney

In 1983, NFL Chiefs running back Joe Delaney sacrificed his life in an attempt to save three children from drowning. This is despite the fact that he had never learned to swim. The team unofficially retired his number, and his hometown erected a statue in recognition of him.

2 Neerja Bhanot

Neerja Bhanot

In 1986, a 22-year-old Indian flight attendant named Neerja Bhanot hid the passports of American passengers on board a hijacked flight to save them from the hijackers. She died while shielding three children from a hail of bullets.

3 Muelmar Magallanes

Muelmar Magallanes

In 2009, an 18-year-old teenager named Muelmar Magallanes lost his life saving a baby girl and her mother during rampaging floods in the Philippines. He was swept away as he helped them reach cover. He’d already saved more than 30 people from the floodwaters after helping evacuate his family.

4 Maximilian Kolbe

Maximilian Kolbe

A Polish priest named Maximilian Kolbe volunteered to die in the place of a man in Auschwitz after he overheard him cry out for his wife and children. The man he saved, Mr. Gajowniczek, died in 1995 at the age of 93.

5 Frances Kelsey

Frances Kelsey

An FDA official named Frances Kelsey saved the US from a generation of children with birth defects such as flipper-like arms and feet by repeatedly blocking the authorization of a drug named Thalidomide in the 1960s that was already approved for use in pregnant women in Europe.

- Sponsored Links -

6 Irena Sendler

Irena Sendler

A woman named Irena Sendler worked as a plumber in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War 2 and saved over 2,500 Jewish children, smuggling many of them out in her tool box. She was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize but lost to Al Gore.

7 Nicholas Winton

Nicholas Winton

During World War II, a stockbroker named Nicholas Winton saved the lives of 669 Czechoslovakian Jewish children who were destined for Nazi death camps by taking them to England. He refused to take credit, and his accomplishment went unnoticed for 50 years until his wife found a scrapbook of the children that he saved and gave it to the BBC in 1988.

Latest FactRepublic Video:
15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History

8 Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer

Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer

Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer was a Dutch woman who saved 10,000 Jewish children during World War II by charming and paying off Dutch train workers and German officers, including a young Adolf Eichmann.

9 Jencie Fagan

Jencie Fagan

In 2006, a teacher named Jencie Fagan stopped a school shooter by hugging the shooter. The shooter dropped the gun, and the teacher held him firmly against her until other teachers arrived to help.

10 Minnie Freeman

Minnie Freeman

In 1888, a Nebraska teacher named Minnie Freeman saved all of her students after a freak blizzard struck. The winds were so strong that the roof and door blew off the school. She roped the kids together and led them over a mile in whiteout conditions to the nearest farmhouse.

- Sponsored Links -


  1. RE: Fact# 15 – Deaf lifeguard Leroy Colombo: A lifeguard told me that one of the main things they look for is eye contact. “A drowning person calls for help with their eyes”

    • If we’re throwing out one line of helpful information: if you ever think you’re drowning KICK YOUR GOD DAMN LEGS.

      I used to be a lifeguard and when people are panicky in the water they claw at the water to try and climb out of it. But they don’t kick their legs. Your legs are the most powerful muscle groups on your body, drowning people use them as a weight to drown with. Swimming people use them to kick.

  2. RE: Fact# 1 – Joe Delaney: Sports Illustrated had a great column about this 10 or 15 years ago that really stuck with me. Here it is:

    Why in creation did Joe Delaney jump into that pit full of water that day?

    Why in the world would the AFC’s best young running back try to save three drowning boys when he himself couldn’t swim?

    Nobody — not his wife, not his mother — had ever seen him so much as dog-paddle. A year and a half earlier, when he went to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii as the AFC’s starting halfback and Rookie of the Year, he never set even a pinkie toe in the ocean or the pool. “Never had,” says his wife, Carolyn, who’d known Joe since they were both seven. “In all my years, I never had seen him swim.”

    So why? Why did the 24-year-old Kansas City Chief try to save three boys he didn’t know with a skill he didn’t have?

    He’d been sitting in the cool shade of a tree on a tar-bubbling afternoon at Chennault Park, a public recreation area in Monroe, La., when he heard voices calling, “Help! Help!” He popped up like a Bobo doll and sprinted toward the pit.

    What made Delaney that kind of person? Why did he mow that lonely woman’s lawn when he was back home in Haughton, La., rich as he was? Why did he check in on that old man every day he was in town? Why did he show up on the Haughton streets one day with a bag full of new shoes and clothes for kids whose names he’d never heard?

    Why could he never think of anything that he wanted for himself? Why didn’t he even make a Christmas list? The man never cashed a paycheck in his life. He would throw his checks on top of the TV for his wife. “Don’t you want nothing for yourself?” Carolyn would ask Joe.

    “Nah,” he’d say. “You just take care of you and the girls.”


    “Well, if you could give me a little pocket change for the week, I’d appreciate it.”

    Why didn’t he ask somebody else to help those three kids that day? After all, there were hundreds of people at the park, and not another soul dived into that pit. Nobody but Delaney, one guy who shouldn’t have.

    The boys in that pit were struggling to stay afloat. They were two brothers — Harry and LeMarkits Holland, 11 and 10, respectively — and a cousin, Lancer Perkins, 11. Of course, LeMarkits was always with Harry. He idolized his big brother. A water park adjacent to Chennault was staging a big promotion with free admission that day, and the boys had wandered over to the pit and waded into the water. Like Delaney, they couldn’t swim.

    So much of it doesn’t make sense. Why hadn’t the pit — a huge rain-filled hole that was left after the dirt had been dug out and used to build a water slide — been fenced off from the public? Who knew that four feet from the edge of the water the hole dropped off like a cliff to about 20 feet deep?

    LeMarkits has said that he remembers the water filling his lungs, the sensation of being pulled to the cold bottom, when all of a sudden a huge hand grabbed his shoulder and heaved him out of the deep water. Delaney dived for the other two boys, sinking below the surface. Folks along the bank waited for him to come up, but he never did. Harry and Lancer drowned with him.

    As much as you might hope that LeMarkits has done something with the gift Delaney gave him, so far he hasn’t. In an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News two years ago, LeMarkits said he has been tortured by the thought that he got to live and Harry didn’t. He said he made his mom sell Harry’s bike, bed and toys. He even burned Harry’s clothes, as if fire could burn his brother from his heart. But it never did. Thirty years old now, LeMarkits got out of jail in May after serving time for distribution of cocaine. There’s still time for him to do something wonderful with the life Delaney gave him. After all, Delaney was doing wonderful things with the one he gave up.

    He was buried on the Fourth of July, 20 years ago. A telegram from President Reagan was read at the memorial service. The Presidential Citizens Medal was awarded posthumously. Three thousand people came to his funeral. A park in Haughton was named after him. No Chiefs player has worn number 37 since. The 37 Forever Foundation, a nonprofit group in Kansas City, honors him to this day by providing free swimming lessons to inner-city kids.

    “I wish they’d had that for Joe and me when we were kids,” Carolyn says glumly. She thinks of her Joe every day. She can’t help it. Their three daughters and four grandkids remind her of him constantly. There is a pause. “I never thought we wouldn’t grow old together.”

    She’s only been on two dates since Joe died. Twenty years, two dates. “Why should I?” she says. “I just keep comparing them to Joe, and they can’t stand up. Nobody in the world is like my Joe.”

    Anyway, the point is, next time you’re reading the sports section and you’re about half-sick of DUIs and beaten wives, put it down for a second and remember Joe Delaney, who, in that splinter of a moment, when a hero was needed, didn’t stop to ask why.

    • Why did no one else attempt to save the children/joe? Did they think joe could handle it and were just waiting?

      If so that seems like even more of a tragedy, someone who could swim might have jumped in if he hadn’t.

      • You might think that saving someone from drowning is easy, but even great swimmers would struggle.

        I couldn’t swim when I was about 8 and fell into a pond just after a very severe flood(wasn’t the smartest idea to swing out and back on the rope swing) My mom(who was a great swimmer) jumped in to save me and I was in such a panic that I latched onto her, pulling her down. She very very nearly drown herself getting just me out, and would have if my older sister didn’t wade into the water and pull us both out.

        Needless to say, there’s a really good chance that those two kids were in a panic and latched onto Joe and pulled him into the 20ft depths and there’s little to nothing he could do about it. I would venture to say that, mainly because of the drop off, it would have taken at least 3 strong swimmers.

        I feel most people know just how dangerous it is to rescue someone from drowning, so even if there were strong swimmers standing by, there’s a good chance that their ‘flight’ kicked in after weighing the consequences. You’d have to essentially be putting your blind faith in the other rescuers that they’d be pulling their weight, and you wouldn’t be saving them as well. You don’t really know what you’d do in a situation like that until you’re in one.

        • my BIL watched as his brother was drowning, couldn’t do anything. his dad attempted to save him but drowned too.

          so, my BIL lost his brother and dad on the same day.

          as a father myself, i would hope that i could save my child from drowning… hell, from anything. my kid and i can swim though. but reality isn’t 100% safe and an attempt could mean my dying along with my child too.

        • Rescue diving we were told to basically submerge and get behind them so they couldn’t grab you, lock legs around their tank, get BCD (flotation jacket) inflated etc. Never get in reach of their hands, people playing the victim would take great joy in dunking you until you learned, full on hands on you and using you as a ladder to climb out of the water sort of thing.

          Someone where my friends teach went to rescue someone panicking underwater and the first thing that the victim did was pull their regs out almost leading to them inhaling water underwater and drowning while trying to save the person. It was only reactions and luck there they didn’t die themselves.

          People in a panic are not rational animals.

  3. RE: Fact# 2 – Neerja Bhanot : What a courageous woman. It’s a true pity there aren’t more like her, and a shame that the good ones all too often are the first to give their life. These are the kind of stories that should be predominant in the media, not what that wacky and crazy Kanye’s up to this week.

    • There are more like her in India. My parents got caught in the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008 while staying in the Taj hotel. My father was killed in the attack, and if it wasn’t for the hotel manager, who put himself in direct danger by coming out into the lobby to beckon my mother and ensure she was hidden/kept safe till the attackers were themselves killed, I doubt we would still have her alive today. Sadly, he lost his own wife and children in the attack. I could not agree more that people such as these should receive more coverage in the media.

      • Sorry for your father.

        The staff at Taj Hotel got a lot of praise for the way they handled the terror attacks. It is hence surprising to hear that one customer has sued the hotel for the attacks. I empathize with the victim and I cannot imagine myself facing such a consequence. But I really do not know if one should sue the hotel for something that really was not their fault. It was more of an Indian intelligence failure than anything to do with the hotel

      • As a Pakistani I agree with this dude. Fu*k Pakistan. The people are great, but the government blows, and it’s become a literal dump, it’s not even worth it anymore.

  4. RE: Fact# 3 – Muelmar Magallanes: An excerpt from a speech by Robert A Heinlein given to graduating students at the US Naval academy. He tells a story of how a woman got her foot stuck in a train track, and her husband (and a mysterious stranger) died trying to free her when the train came

    But what of this nameless stranger? Up to the very last second he could have jumped clear. He did not. He was still trying to save this woman he had never seen before in his life, right up to the very instant the train killed him. And that’s all we’ll ever know about him.
    This is how a man dies.
    This is how a man … lives!

  5. RE: Fact# 21 – Armenian S. Karapetyan:

    “On that day, training with his brother Kamo, also a finswimmer, by running alongside the Yerevan Lake, Karapetyan had just completed his usual distance of 20 km (12 mi) when he heard the sound of a crash and saw a sinking trolleybus which had become out of control and fallen from a dam wall.

    The trolleybus lay at the bottom of the reservoir some 25 metres (80 ft) offshore at a depth of 10 metres (33 ft). Karapetyan swam to it and, despite conditions of almost zero visibility, due to the silt rising from the bottom, broke the back window with his legs. The trolleybus was crowded, it carried 92 passengers and Karapetyan knew he had little time, spending some 30 to 35 seconds for each person he saved.

    Karapetyan managed to rescue 20 people (he picked up more, but 20 of them survived), but this ended his sports career: the combined effect of cold water and the multiple wounds he received (scratched by glass), left him unconscious for 45 days.Subsequent sepsis, due to the presence of raw sewage in the lake water, and lung complications prevented him from continuing his sports career….On February 19, 1985, Shavarsh just happened to be near a burning building, that had people trapped inside. He rushed in and started pulling people out without a second thought. Once again, he was badly hurt (severe burns) and spent a long time in the hospital.

  6. RE: Fact# 23 – Ghulam Dastagir:

    Union Carbide, the company that created the Bhopal Disaster, had a similar accident the next year in West Virginia.

    They still haven’t taken responsibility or paid restitution to the victims.

    • Reference 8 from Wikipedia (your image of the building remains) has this picture that shows the area before and the remaining steel frame before it was cleaned up. Seeing just the steel frame says a lot, but being able to see how not-open the area around that building was is also very jarring.

  7. RE: Fact# 4 – Maximilian Kolbe: “According to an eye witness, an assistant janitor at that time, in his prison cell, Kolbe led the prisoners in prayer. Each time the guards checked on him, he was standing or kneeling in the middle of the cell and looking calmly at those who entered. After two weeks of dehydration and starvation, only Kolbe remained alive. The guards wanted the bunker emptied and they gave Kolbe a lethal injection of carbolic acid. Kolbe is said to have raised his left arm and calmly waited for the deadly injection.”

    What a badass.

      • you have no clue whatsoever. phenol, at the time known as carbolic acid is neurotoxic and analgesic – the nerve fibers cease to transmit before registering pain. phenol injection is instantenously and painlessly stopping the heart.

  8. RE: Fact# 2 – Neerja Bhanot :

    This incident took place when the Americans considered the Pakistanis to be the good guys and the Indians the bad(Soviet friendly) guys. The American response has to be seen in that context. Neerja Bhanot wasnt made into a heroine in America at that time.
    Here is a picture of her from an ad.

  9. RE: Fact# 20 – Pierlucio Tinazzi: Key Excerpt

    As soon as he was notified of the developing emergency in the tunnel, he grabbed breathing equipment and drove his BMW K75 back into the tunnel. As he came across people trying to get out, he stopped and told them to stay low, stay close to the wall (where fresh air was pumped in by the ventilation ducts) and keep moving, stopping only to breathe at the ducts. He then decided to continue on into the hottest and most dangerous part of the fire despite the risk to his own personal safety. Most of the truckers close to the fire suffocated or were poisoned by the noxious gases within minutes (see smoke inhalation). Tinazzi searched for survivors among the wreckage and those who had already succumbed to the fire’s ill effects. Tinazzi put the survivors on the back of his bike and shuttled back out the French side as fast as possible, bringing out victim after victim, then going back for the next one. On Tinazzi’s fifth trip into the tunnel, he came across Maurice Lebras, a French truck driver who was unconscious but still alive. Too big and unwieldy to get onto the back of the bike unconscious, Tinazzi refused to abandon him. Instead he wrestled Maurice into fire refuge #20 and closed the door.

  10. RE: Fact# 5 – Frances Kelsey:

    Chemistry lesson time!

    Thalidomide itself was a perfectly harmless treatment for pregnant women’s morning sickness. The problem was, the effective drug was only roughly half of the pill’s composition. The other half consisted of the drug’s enantiomers, which caused horrible birth defects.

    Nowadays, drugs have to be enantiomerically pure in order to gain FDA clearance, unless they can prove their lack of ill effects on patients, which is super hard to do.

    So what is an enantiomer?

    During bond formation, unless precautions are taken, a molecule can bind to another facing in different directions (facing towards or away from view). This causes the stereochemistry of the molecule to change.

    From the standpoint of the empirical formula, nothing would have changed, but in terms of function, the molecule could be metabolized in entirely different ways. Another good example is a Vick’s Vapoinhaler, which is benign in and of itself, but its nonsuperimposable mirror image (its major enantiomer) is… Meth! So each time you use a vapoinhaler, you are actually using a negligible amount of methamphetamine.

    Science is fun.

    Source: currently studying biochemistry

    • Even if they had been able to purify the one useful enantiomer, it wouldn’t had mattered. Thalidomide is interesting in that the hydrogen which gives rise to the chiral center can easily be deprotonated, leaving behind a stabilized SP2 carbanion by conjugation. The spot can then be protonated again to give rise to the racemic mixture. You’d end up with the (S) enantiomer anyways.

        • Breaks apart and re combined on the other side. Imagine it like the steering wheel of your car sometimes falls off and reconnects onto the other side. Now you have left hand drive and right hand drive cars.

          In chemistry there are often bonds breaking and reforming. For example in a glass of water, some of the molecules will break apart into a proton and OH ion. These protons can reconnect to different OH ions than they started at. Of course water is not chiral so this reaction has no significance to us.

  11. RE: Fact# 20 – Pierlucio Tinazzi: Not to rain on anyones parade but I feel like there is some key information missing: He died during that fire.

    The original fire doors were rated to survive for 2 hours. Some had been upgraded in the 34 years since the tunnel was built to survive for 4 hours, but refuge #20 was not one of them. However, even the upgraded fire refuges could not withstand the intense heat of the tunnel fire, which raged for 56 hours.

    Also on the wikipedia page of the tunnel/tunnel catastroph it says

    The larger trucks did not have the space to turn around, and reversing out was not an option.

    why was that not an option? Did the trucks not have a reverse gear?

    And some perspective:

    Of the initial 50 people trapped by the fire, 12 survived.

    That means Pierlucio Tinazzi saved nearly all of them.

  12. RE: Fact# 18 – Bishnu Shrestha: History has taught me one thing about the Ghurkas and that’s not to ever, ever piss off a Ghurka.

  13. RE: Fact# 22 – Zura Karuhimbi:

    We are friends with a Hutu man and Tutsi woman who are married and have five kids. They lived in a Hutu neighborhood, and everybody knew them. When the killing began, a Hutu storekeeper hid the wife in a grain bin until night fell. When the Hutu militia went door to door, all the neighbors said there were no Tutsi in their neighborhood.

    When it was safe, the wife was dressed in men’s clothing and smuggled away in a canoe across Lake Kivu. Her husband and children followed her later.

    The family spent a few years in Zambia before coming to the U.S. The kids are all brilliant and accomplished. Everyone else in their family was murdered.

    • How do the killers know what ethnicity someone is unless living somewhat segregated? A single person living in the other ethnicity’s neighbourhood couldn’t pass as one of them? Do they look too different or is there anything else to it?

  14. The last one, Cameron Lyle seemed incorrect. If he was in college (18-22), his “father” (according to the article) would have been 10 yrs old. Doing my own research, it was a 28 yr old patient he didn’t even know, NOT his father. Which makes it even MORE heroic.

  15. RE: Fact# 7 – Nicholas Winton:

    This is him in 1988 in the audience of a UK TV show unknowingly sitting amongst some of the surviving grown up rescued children. It’s very emotional when the host asks them to stand up.

  16. RE: Fact# 13 – Liviu Librescu:

    In case anyone is wondering how come the students didn’t die after his death, students were able to flee through the window while he was holding the door.

    • It is a 2nd floor classroom, but the hill slopes away from the building, so it Is a long fall. Many of the kids got injured jumping.

      The one student who died was unable to jump.

  17. RE: Fact# 11 – Marcel Marceau: Fun fact:

    Although Marceau never spoke on stage, he did once famously speak in a film. He appeared in Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie in 1976 and said the only word: “non”.

    • I love that Mel Brooks made a silent movie in 1976 named it “Silent Movie”, and had the one performer known for not talking actually talk in his silent movie. That next level trolling.

  18. RE: Fact# 14 – Vince Coleman:

    It wasn’t just an explosion.

    The blast was the largest man-made explosion before the development of nuclear weapons, releasing the equivalent energy of roughly 2.9 kilotons of TNT (12,000 GJ).

    • Over 1,600 people were killed instantly and 9,000 were injured, more than 300 of whom later died.[25] Every building within a 2.6-kilometre (1.6 mi) radius, over 12,000 in total, was destroyed or badly damaged.[62]Hundreds of people who had been watching the fire from their homes were blinded when the blast wave shattered the windows in front of them.


      • I’ve talked to a few survivors of the Explosion. One of them was a boy of 13 at the time (he was 102 when I spoke with him). They next day he went with his cousin to look for his cousin’s missing bicycle in the blast zone. Everything was still smouldering. He saw the wrecked fire truck where the whole fire crew was killed.
        One horrible detail he told me was that because houses were made of wood and smashed to flinders, the coal furnaces and wood stoves started fires in the rubble. So lot of survivors were burned to death.
        They never found the bike. When they got home, his cousin’s mum was laid out on the dining room table. Her skin was sooty and they were cleaning her face. I think his parents identified her body at the temporary morgue at the music conservatory on Chebucto Road.

  19. RE: Fact# 24 – Oleksander Lelechenko:

    There were so many unsung (at least in the West) heroes in the hours and days after the meltdown started. Over the course of 10 days, around 600 pilots flew around 4,000 missions to drop iron, clay and sand on top of Reactor 4 in order to block as much of the radioactive material as possible from entering the atmosphere. They all wore dosimeters, each and every one knew that they were receiving potentially fatal doses of radiation during each flight, and yet they kept going. In all, 28 of them died from complications of radiation poisoning, but all 600 of them are heroes who saved countless other lives

      • From what I understand, the political atmosphere of the time in the USSR pretty much guaranteed that anyone who admitted personal or professional failure could count their remaining time on this Earth in hours, if not minutes. Their families would also disappear without a trace, their friends scared to even mention their names in fear of the same happening to them. It’s easy for us to sit back and judge them for being “evil” when most of them were simply trying to survive. No rank or position was high enough allow them to freely speak the truth about Chernobyl.

    • This makes me think about a discussion from the podcast about the HBO show.

      They (podcast host and the show’s writer) were discussing how Chernobyl could’ve only happened and been solved in the USSR. The people of Pripyat were told to leave, so they did. They left their homes and belongings and pets and got into orderly lines to get onto buses, with no clue when they’d return. Without question. That could never happen in the US. We’d never leave our pets, much less our belongings. Men went into irradiated water, knowing they were probably going to die from it. Without question. Miners dug under the reactor because that’s what they were told to do.

      I’m not romanticizing the USSR, because Chernobyl would’ve never happened had they been an actual competent government (the plant had been open something like two years and they hadn’t done a safety test that was supposed to be done before opening/in the first six months and when they finally did it, it was delayed hours because it would mess with power somewhere else, building up an unsafe reaction in an already known to be unsafe type of reactor, which they’d cut corners building). But you have to give the citizens credit. They did what needed to be done at great personal risk.

  20. I hate when people make it a contest. There were MANY people who worked hard at great personal risk to save lives during WWII. Some save 1 some 10,000 or more.

    I wish they all were honored for their sacrifice but that is not how history gets written. We should not ever “rank” these heroes by how many lives they saved.

  21. RE: Fact# 10 – Minnie Freeman:

    It says right in the article that the weather was warm and summery and the sun was shining. This was called the children’s blizzard and is one of the deadliest in US history because so many children were killed trying to get home from school.

    • There is a fantastic book that touches on her story and MANY others called The Children’s Blizzard. A very touching story.

  22. RE: Fact# 12 – Ina Koenig:

    This is nuts, I want to see more pictures of the area or a diagram or something… The chasm was apparently 4.5 ft wide and 75 feet deep. How did they not bash themselves silly against the walls all the way down? How did she not land on the kid after apparently jumping in through the same opening? I am so confused.

    • I think the 75 feet means total depth. It says it was filled with water, but not how much. If there was a lot of water, her actual fall before hitting it could have been a lot shorter. If she only had to jump 20 feet, that’s a lot more doable. Not that that it away from her actions either way.

    • Heres a pic of the shaft and heres a diagram

      Translation of the german in the diagram:

      Left side:

      Depth: 25 meter (around 82 feet)

      Original Height 90 meter (around 295 feet) filled with earth

      Sabine T. (37)

      and Jonas (3) (Both Names got changed by the newspaper)

      Right Side:

      Old Shaft of a disused coal mine about 4 meters ( around 13 feet ) long and 1.20 meters (around 4 feet) wide.

      Water at the ground (probaly estimated) 2 meters (6.6 feet) deep

      Temprature (witch is cut off in the pic) 5 – 6 degree celsius (around 41 to 42 fahrenheit)

      ​The water depth is probaly just a estimate by the newspaper

  23. RE: Fact# 9 – Jencie Fagan: This happened at my middle school. It wasn’t so much of a hug as it was her coming from behind and controlling Him until help arrived

  24. RE: Fact# 14 – Vince Coleman:

    Very important: This man apparently could have fled — it was not a doomed man sending a message. It was someone who realized that by staying and sending a message he would save many more lives than his own. Very few people would do this — not sure I would have.

    Even if he was doomed, no one could have known how powerful the explosion would be. In fact, since this would be the largest explosion up til that time, he had a reasonable belief that getting, say, hundreds of feet away, might have saved him.

    Here is his grave and also it indicates he had lost his own young son the year before:

  25. RE: Fact# 15 – Deaf lifeguard Leroy Colombo:

    Hearing sounds at the beach might lull you into thinking all is well. Actual drowning is usually silent.

    • Yup. I was a lifeguard at a Boy Scout camp, and was up early for a 1 mile swim at the choke point of the pool we had (iirc it was like 25 yards long but had this narrow section in the middle that I was stationed in. It was a very long time ago so could be wrong on the length though). I was dutifully scanning the field of swimmers when another lifeguard on the other side of the choke point yelled my name and pointed basically to my feet. A kid not 2 feet away from the side of the pool, and honestly just inside my scan zone, was struggling to stay up and made ABSOLUTELY ZERO NOISE. It was shocking, and I basically threw the donut straight down on his head. The fact I missed someone in trouble 2 feet away from me kinda fucked me up for a bit, but what I took away from it was that someone drowning makes literally zero noise. None. Zip. Zilch. It was so crazy to me that I could have almost grabbed this person but they never said ANYTHING. It was all good because we designed our lifeguard stations with that in mind, but it was still wild to me.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here