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Thursday, Sept. 21, 2006

Two Kyoto boys saved from drowning

Staff writer

Foreign resident and Japan Times editor Simon Bartz is one of five people being considered for "certificates of gratitude" for the dramatic rescue in Kyoto of two boys who nearly drowned in the Kamagawa River.

The Kyoto Prefectural Police said it was considering recognizing the five adults for saving Atsushi Kohara and Hirotada Nanbu, both 7, from certain death Wednesday afternoon.

The students, who go to Nishijin Chuo Elementary School in Kyoto, were playing at the river when Kohara apparently was pulled out into deep water, police said.

Bartz, who lives in Tokyo, and Takashi Baba of Kyoto were at the riverside in Kita Ward when they spotted the boys in trouble.

Kohara "was out in the river and appeared to be drowning so the other boy went into the river to help him," a Kyoto police spokesman said.

Bartz and Baba first spotted Kohara floating facedown while Nanbu was further upstream frantically trying to get back to shore.

"One (boy) was floating downstream so I ran down and jumped in and my friend went upstream to rescue the other boy where he was struggling," Bartz said.

Naoki Kubo of Kyoto, who was nearby, also jumped in the river to help Baba rescue Nanbu, police said.

When Bartz, a native of Wales, reached Kohara he said the boy had no pulse.

After he pulled the unconscious boy from the water, two passersby began administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Baba and Kubo, meanwhile, swam out into deep water to reach the other boy and pull him to safety.

Kohara was resuscitated and the two boys were taken to the hospital. Nanbu was sent home, but Kohara was kept for observation.

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The Japan Times

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