Pulls 4 From Lake in Dark - Two Just About Done
Toronto Star, June 6, 1950
Four Toronto men saved from possible drowning in Crowe Lake May 24, today regard 17 year old Bill Bonter as Ontario's unsung hero of 1950.
There has been no recognition of young Bonter's heroism, they say. The youth, in a 16 foot, round bottom skiff, located the four in the darkness as they clung, exhausted, in their over- turnedpunt, and he hauled each one of safety. The four are Bud Eldridge, 28, and his brother, Cameron, 18, Norman North, 19, and Stan Carneigle, 23.
Late on the holiday afternoon the four men rented a punt and an outboard motor from Bill Bonter's father. They headed out into the lake to fish. About nine p.m. Bonter returned from a trip up the lake and tied his skiff at his father's summer resort wharf.
"When I heard them hollering and yelling out there on the lake" Bonter recalled. "I couldn't distinguish words but they were certainly hollering. They had dad's motor and 1 didn't
want to lose it."
"The water was cold," he said, and they were nearly exhausted. They were clinging to the overturned punt and it kept turning over and over as they tired and put more of their weight on it. Even when it was right side up it was about 99 percent submerged.
One of them couldn't swim, or not swim very well, and none of them felt he could swim well enough to reach shore more than a mile away. All they could do was rest their hands on the
punt. Only the buoyancy of the wood in it kept it up. If they put any weight on it, it would go down.
Bill Bonter said if the lake had not been calm he never would have been able to get the men into his long, narrow skiff. Two were just about done for, he related. They had been trying to swim the boat toward the shore, but it kept flipping over and over. They were in the water about an hour and a quarter, although they said they had been in for longer than two hours.
"One by one I hoisted them into the skiff. Two of them were pretty heavy fellows. But I got them in. They just sat there in the boat and shivered. They all had their clothes on."