The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on July 27, 1969 · Page 4
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July 27, 1969

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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 4

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Des Moines, Iowa
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Sunday, July 27, 1969
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Page 4
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'She Might Have Been Saved' Where Kennedy Says He Nearly Drowned Aerial view .shows rhaiind lietuTen Chap|>a<|iikl- Ir-K- Island, ritflil, and Martha's Vineyard, left, which l ; .S. Senator Kdward Kennedy (Dem., Mass.) said he swam the morning of .Inly 1!> after his car plunged off a liridjre, out of picture right. Kennedy Friday told a nation-\vide television audience that he "impulsively swam across, nearly drowning once again in the effort," after missing the last ferry to Kdgartown, at left. At least three pel-sons swam the nearly two-block-long channel Saturday. All agreed it was a reasonable swim. After the accident in which Mary Jo Kopechne, 28, drowned, Kennedy said he returned to his hotel, beyond trees out of view left center, at 2 a.m. KENNEDY- Continued I rum I'atie One. merit Hion .th n wheels of Kennedy'? car slim! across the rive-inch high wonrk'n bumpers nf r.k" bridge, winch still bear ine years, and plunged into the lacin.c five-knot current. A precise and thorough ac- eoi'.n' of the. events between Eilward Kennedy's arrival on Chappquiddick island and his p'unge into the dark waters of Pocha Pond is still lacking. But there is no dispute over the ce 1 tral facts. A party was to be held that night at a collage rented weeks before by the Senator's cousin, Joseph Oargan of Boston, who had intended (o spend a few days on the" island with his v/ife and another couple in advance of the regatta. An illness in Gargan's family delayed his arrival until the day of the party, which was to be a eookout in the yard. Guests Arrived At 8:30 p.m. other guests arrived. A Kennedy friend and sailing companion, Ray Larosa, brought Mary Jo Copechnc and five other girls — all veterans of Robert Kennedy's 1968 campaign —to the Chappaquiddick cottage from the Dunes motel, in Edgartown, where they were staying. The other gir^ were Esther R. Newberg, who works at the 'Urban Institute in Washington; Nancy Lyons, an aide to Kennedy in Massachusetts; her sister, Maryellen Lyons, who works for Massachusetts State Senator Beryl Cohen; Rosemary Keough, whose pocket book was fbund in the submerged car, who works for the Children's Foundation in Washington and Susan Tannenbaum, on the staff of Representative AllaTl K. Lowenstein (Dem., N.Y.1 They were all alumnae of the campaign ''boiler room," a special office responsible for keeping track of convention delegates. Last spring there was a party for the group at the home of Robert Kennedy's friend and. boiler room commissar, David Hackett in suburban Maryland. There was dancing and sing- L ing and the expected quota of in-group reminiscences. It was a merry, though completely,decorous, affair Last summer there was a sailing parly for the girls at the cape. When everyone had gathered at the cottage a fire was started for the steak eookout. There were drinks and by the recollection of Mrs. James Sullivan and Foster Silva, two neighbors, lively but not boisterous singing and laughter: "There were no raucous noises at all." Mrs. Sullivan .later recalled. "There was some talking, laughing and •singing, but I wouldn't even call it a party. I would call it people in for the evening." Miss Newberg had a similar recollection. "Nobody," she said, "had more than one or two drinks. We were all tired after the regatta." Men Present In addition to Kennedy and Larosa the men present were Gargan, Paul Markham, John Crimmins, the senator's longtime driver and general factotum r and Charles Tretter, another sailing companion. The meal was over toward 10:30 and the departure of Kennedy and Miss Kopechne, a short time later was not particularly noticed by the' group. "We assumed," said Miss Newberg, "that they had caught the last ferry back and that Mary Jo was back at the motel and tlh senator was at the Shire- town Inn (where he was slaying in Kdgartown i." Go to Sleep ; By 1 a.m., Miss Newberg related, people started going to sleep, having missed the last ferry back to Edgartown at midnight. There were four single beds in the two bedroom | cottage and a sofa in the living | room. - i Some people, exhausted by the day of sailing, flopped down , i on the floor to sleep. ; I Kennedy headed north on the ! blacktop road to the ferry, he • 'said, at about 11:15 p.m. Miss | Kopechne was the only passen- j ger in the car, although Miss; Keough's purse was later found i i in the submerged wreck. As Kennedy came to a T-shaped intersection a half : mile from the Gargan cottage, he'turned right onto the unsur- ! faced Dike road which leads to i | a dead end at South Beach lessi than a mile from the intersection. | He was driving, he related, | at 20 miles an hour as he ap- iproached the tiny, unlighted bridge over Poucha Pond at the end of the road. Heard Car ; Juliet Malm, a 21-year-old ; college student, was reading in i her mother's rented house near j , the bridge. She thought she \ ! heard a car go be "really fast" \ at about 11:30 p.m. but heard ; nothing more. i Where the road meets the bridge, there is an unmarked left angle turn that must be made if a car is not to plunge i into the water. Kennedy didn't! i make it. , His car went over the approach to the bridge, flipped over on its back and sank into ten or 12 feet of swift-running j water. j The front window of the driv-' er's side was open. The other front window and the left rear window were blown out in the crash. His Recollection "I remember thinking as the cold water rushed in around j my head," Kennedy recalled a week later, "that I was for cer- • tain drowning. Then water entered my lungs and I actually . felt the sensation of drowning. I But somehow I struggled to the ' surface alive." His first act after reaching the surface of the pond in pitch-black darkness, he sajd, was 16 dive back into the swift water to search for Miss Ko- pechne. He recalled that hei dived repeatedly and futiley and then, exhausted and terri- fied, swam to shore and collapsed in the grass. He lay there for a while and then began the mile-long walk back to the Gargan cottage. A few feet from the bridge, he passed the Malm house. A 60-watt light was burning in a bedroom on the second floor. A 25-watt light — visible from the bridge — was burning on the first floor. Twenty yards down the road, another light was on in an upstairs bedroom of the house occupied by Mrs. David Smith. A night walking tour of the road makes it clear that no passing pedestrian could have avoided seeing these lighted houses. But Kennedy passed them by without stopping, an "indefensible" decision, he later said, made while he was afflicted with "a jumble of emotions—grief, fear, doubt, exhaustion, panic, confusion and shot.k " Rack to Cabin He got back to the cabin, perhaps as early as 12:30 a.m., and qiiM'Uy contacted Gargan and Markham. No one else in the cabin knew he had returned He told his two friends what had happened and asked them to go back with him to Poucha Pond to search for Miss Ko- pechne. They headed back to the pond in a car and may have reached the dike road inter- s^ction at about 12:40 a.m. That, at least, is the time a car with three persons inside was spotted at the intersection by Christopher S. Look, jr., a part- time deputy sheriff. He recalled that the driver seemed confused about which way to turn, that he called out offering assistance, and that he was told to "get lost." i A few minutes later, Mrs. Pierre Malm, Juliet's mother, heard a car going by toward the bridge. i At the pond, Kennedy later I said, Gargan and Markham un- I dertook "a new effort to dive down and locate Miss Ko- pechne. Their strenuous efforts, undertaken at some risk to their own lives, also proved futile. His Thoughts "AH kinds of thoughts, some of them confused, some of them irrational . . . went through my mind during this period . . . such questions as [whether the girl might still be I alive somewhere out of that im| mediate a.'ea, whether some j awful curse did actually hang |over all the Kennedys, whether '• there was some justifiable rea- | sun fct me !o doubt what hap- j pened, and to delay my report, whether somehow the awful weight of thin incredible incident might in some way pass from my shoulders." In that frame of mind, Keni ncdy again lefr. the pond, this ' time with Markham and Gargan, and again passed by the lighted houses near the bridge i without stopping The time pre; sumably was aftrir 1 a.m. I The three men drove finally to the ferry landing on Chap; paquiddick Kennedy instructed j Gargan and Markham to say nothing of the accident to the people who were then sleeping at the cottaeo. : Swam Channel . Then Kennedy, "in- j explicably" and "impulsively," dove into the water and swam the swift. 700-foot channel to KENNEDY- Please turn to Page Five HEAR CLEARLY AGAIN with NOTHING in either ear It is now possible for thousands of people to enjoy hearing again, with nothing in either ear! NO buttons, NO tubes, NO wires, nothing in either ear. For thousands this new aid may prove to lie the best pos- •silile way to hear next to nature's own ears. 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CITY ............................ PHONE ............... lest tim» to call: Q Morninj Q Afternoon D Evenin9 EDGARTOWN, MASS. (AP) — John N. Farrar, the diver who recovered the body of Mary Jo Kopechne from a tidal pond on Chappaquiddick Island, said Saturday there was a chance her life could have been saved if authorities were notified immediately after the accident. Miss Kopechne was a pas- senger in a car driven by Senator Edward M. Kennedy. "I feel strongly that if we had been called at the time of the accident there was a great possibility that we could have saved her life," Farrar said. "The fact that one of the car windows was open and tome were broken would not prevent an air bubble from having formed In the top," Farrar said. Farrar is captain of the search add rescue diving Edgartown Fire Department. Farrar recovered the body of JJie 28-year-old Washington secretary about 8:30 a.m. Saturday," July 19, about Dai July 17, General Seetfon hours after Kennedy said the car went into the water. Farrar said, "Judging from the position of the body In the car, she was holding herself in such a position as to take advantage of the last remaining air." Farrar said persons in cars overturned in water have been known to stay alive as long as five hours. OPEN TODAY NOON to 7 Miss Breek Hair Spray 13 ei. size 99e value 48' BAYER /\ ', i ' I [ ) I NJ Bayer Aspirin SMHTs 1.99 value 89' Personna Electric Coated Double Edge Blades Dispenser of 5 38' Burma Shave Shaving Foam II 01. sit* 98«- value 37* Right Guard Deodorant 7 oz. size 1.59 value 97' Insect Repellent 17 oz. size 97' DRUG DEPT. efohtifloii & Johnson Baby Shampoo 7 oz. $iie 1.19 value 73' CHARGE IT Men's White Handkerchiefs CHARGE IT Super Fish Value Xebra Danios Full til., perfect squares Hammed edges. 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