Salt Lake City, UT boat capsizes, May 1936

Four Rescued After 5-Hour Battle in Gale

Salt Lake City's One-Vessel Navy Rescues Quartet Accompanying Girl Distance Swimmer

10-Foot Visibility

Wind Balks Efforts of Other Craft to Reach Victims of Capsizing

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 31 (UP). - Four persons who fought the storm-whipped, strangling waters of Great Salt Lake five hours after their boat capsized were rescued Sunday by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's office one-boat navy.

The rescued are Adrian Smith, 21, and Paul Madsen, 21, University of Utah students; Marlow Branagan, sports reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune, and Helen Woodhead, 21, nurse at St. Mark's Hospital, Salt Lake.

Caked with dried salt, bruised, lacerated and near exhaustion from their battle with a lashing gale and a heavy rainstorm, the four were picked up by the power launch Sheriff No. 1 midway between Antelope Island and the lake edge.

Deputy Sheriff George Knepp, Leonard Phillips and Frank Hale, resort operators, achieved the rescue under hazardous conditions which kept all other craft ashore and grounded airplanes in the area.

Grabbed by Boat Hook.

For nearly two hours the Sheriff's craft had bucked seven and eight-foot combers in the lake, hunting for a trace of the overturned craft.

Finally Hale sighted the vessel and its occupants. The same gale and rollers which had overturned the craft righted it later and the four, shivering and near exhaustion from the cold, had clambered back aboard. The boat was full of water and near foundering.

With aid of a boat hook the rescuers hauled the craft together and took the victims aboard.

Phillips, who was adrift on the lake for thirty-six hours several months ago in a similar accident, said he believed ian additional two or three-hour delay in the rescue would have meant death for the four, so adverse were weather conditions.

Accompanying Marathon Swimmer.

The boat capsized in a sudden squall which blew up as the group followed the progress of an attempted eleven-mile marathon swim in which Miss Hazel Cunningham, former San Francisco endurance swimmer, sought to set an official A.A.U. record for distance between Antelope Island in Great Salt Lake and Black Rock, a lake edge resort. Two other boats also were accompanying the swimmer on her record attempt.

When the Snipe, owned by Leon Stanley, Miss Cunningham's manager, overturned, the squall had narrowed visibility on the lake to ten feet. The wind prevented those in the other two boats from reaching the capsized victims immediately.

Planes Kept on Ground.

The wind which caused the accident so fatigued Miss Cunningham that her trainers were forced to pull her from the water, weak and near exhaustion. As soon as the storm became intense she was forced to aboandon her efforts after completing six miles of her projected swim.

Miss Cunningham was taken to a Salt Lake City hospital by Major P. B. Robinson, formerly of the Ninth Corps Area, San Francisco, a friend accompanying her marathon attempt.

Rescue efforts were hampered by intensity of the storm which in some parts of the State created the worst wind and duststorm conditions in several years. All airplanes were grounded and several aviators who wished to go aloft and lead the rescue boats to where the four were fighting for life were prohibited from taking planes off the ground.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX, 1 Jun 1936