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  • Linda A Metzger

A 9 year old hero, 100 years ago

We have heard stories through the years of people saving others from drowning in icy waters. Unfortunately, not all of these stories have a happy ending. Let's go back to Manhasset, 100 years ago, when a brave 9 year old boy tries to save his sister and cousin who have fallen into the ice on New Years Day. The boy's name was John Dabrowska and he saw his sister Agnes and his cousin Sophina Kalinowska both several years older than him, fall through the thin ice on Manhasset Bay. The families were in Manhasset on holiday from their homes in Brooklyn and Flushing.


The girls had accompanied other children in using their Christmas sleds to slide onto the ice. All was well until the 9 year old son of Alexander Welchenski dared the girls to venture out with him where the ice appeared smoother further off shore. At about 100 feet off shore, the ice gave way under Agnes and Sophina as the other children watched them disappear into the bay. Everyone ran for help except for John Dabrowska who decided to stay and try to rescue the girls. While laying on the ice to help the girls, the hole widened under his weight and John sank into the ice water.


By the time rescue boats went out for the 3 children, it was too late. Their bodies were recovered and returned to their families.




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