Heroes, 1966.

These four boys rescued two youths from drowning in California a week ago. They are from left, Robert L. Kuhaulua, George K. Kupihe, Melvin D. Kalahiki and Robert K. Brown.—Photo by Pan American.

Isle job corpsmen save two from drowning on W. Coast

The rescue of two Santa Rosa, California, youths from drowning at Salmon Creek Beach a week ago today was told by four returning job corpsmen yesterday.

The corpsmen, who returned with 11 others from California on a Pan American plane, were Robert L. Kuhaulua, George K. Kupihe, Melvin D. Kalahiki and Robert K. Brown.

The 15 youths constitute the first group f a Job Corps cadre goup sent here to set up a new camp at Koko Head Center.

Kuhaulua, 20, of Anahola, Kauai, in a planeside interview said he was among 54 corpsmen on the beach playing ukuleles, guitars and singing.

“I saw this guy about 60 to 75 yards out,” said Robert, a husky 195-pounder. “I had a hunch he was in trouble. He was fighting the current.”

As soon as Kuhaulua plunged into the water to go after the struggling swimmer—Jim  Franchetti, a Santa Rose High School junior—Brown followed.

But Brown, a slight youth of 145 pounds, swam to the aid of Franchetti’s unidentified swimming companion who, also, was in trouble.

Brown, 16, whose home is at 2008 Puukapu Street in Kalihi, said, “The guy I tried to rescue got hold of my hair. He was dragging me under with him.

“I could see he was in panic so I let him have it in his stomach. Then he calmed down. Later I took him out of the rough currents and led him safely to shore.”

In the meantime, Kuhaulua said, three other corpsmen—George K. Kupihe, 20, of 2188-E Ahe Street; Melvin D. Kalahiki, 20, of 47-180-C Waihee Road, Kaneohe, and Orval Wilson, of Missouri—took a life preserver tied to a 20-foot rope.

By forming a chain, they were able to get the preserver to the struggling swimmer, they said.

(Star-Bulletin, 4/23/1866, p. A3)


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Volume 55, Number 113, Page A3. April 23, 1966.

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