Few people would have done this.
January 13, 1982 was the day when an Air Florida plane crashed into the frozen Potomac River on the edge of Washington D.C. The water was 31 degrees F., one degree below freezing. Massive ice flows and slushy water paralyzed most of the passengers, resulting in a loss of 74 passenger lives. Four other people on the overhanging bridge also were killed.
Six people were still alive and clinging to the tail section of the plane, the only part above water.
Six people, but only five were rescued. One man, Arland D. Williams, Jr., age 46, did not survive.
Why not? Each time the life line with a float was lowered, Mr. Williams passed the ring onto someone else. He swam to one woman whose arms could no longer hold onto the ring and secured her in the device.
Five times Arland Williams, Jr., passed the ring to other passengers, helping them to be pulled to safety. When the ring was lowered a sixth time, Mr. Williams had disappeared into the icy water.
Crash on the Potomac, 1982
He was the man who went back.