Bio: Hargraves, David (Life Saved - 1951)

Contact: Stan

Surnames: Hargraves, Obernberger

----Sources: Colby Phonograph (Colby, Clark County, Wis.) 11/08/1951

Former Colby Man Saves Boy’s Life

Frank Obernberger, former proprietor of the bowling alley and tavern on Colby, now proprietor of the Sky-Lite Club at Corinth in the town of Johnson, Marathon county, saved the life of David Hargraves, two-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. George Hargraves, last week Wednesday afternoon by his quick action.

It was this way:

Mrs. Hargraves was doing some painting on the back porch of the family home when she thought she heard a yell. When she failed to locate David she became frantic. Finally, she heard a muffled cry from an old abandoned well. She raced to the well, raised the cover over the well, and there was her boy, floating in 10 feet of water, about seven feet below the surface of the ground in a tile pipe of about 16 inches in diameter.

Her screams for aid attracted Frank Obernberger from next door. He thrust a pole down the narrow well, but little David would not cooperate by grabbing the pole. Then Obernberger took a nearby garden rake, nailed the pole to the handle of the rake and lowered it into the well. After considerable maneuvering, he hooked the boy’s jacket and started pulling the 40-pound boy to the surface. As he neared ground level, the jacket started to rip, but the two rescuers made a lunge for the boy and grabbed him before he could fall back again.

How the child managed to remain afloat in the well neither the mother nor Obernberger could explain. He didn’t even have wet hair, although the rescue operation required more than 20 minutes.

It was considered likely that the boy walked on the cover of the well and dropped down when the cover tilted. The cover then returned to a horizontal position.

The Hargraves family now have the cover nailed on the well and have a good reason for having it nailed down.



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