Nov. 20, 1945: A thrilling cliff rescue

  • Blog Post by: Ben Welter
  • November 30, 2009 - 6:38 PM
A resident of a Minneapolis orphanage was hailed as a hero in this Star-Journal account of the dramatic rescue of a 2-year-old who had tumbled down a steep riverbank. Alas, I have not been able to track down the quick-thinking lad -- he'd now be in his late 70s -- for an interview. 


Human Chain
Saves Child
From Cliff

  Howard Spiess
A CLIFF-HANGING rescue worthy of the wildest movie thriller today had saved Dennis (Punk) Andersen, 2, 3620 46th avenue S., from death in the Mississippi river.

Here was Howard Spiess, 14, resident in Lutheran Children’s Friend society home, 3608 W. Mississippi river boulevard, who formed the end link of a human chain to pull the boy to safety.

Dennis, who was born while his father, Kenneth M. Andersen, was with the air forces in the Pacific, apparently rolled down the steep bank of the Mississippi 50 feet and grabbed protruding tree roots above the water.

There he clung while Howard searched.

Hearing Dennis’ cries, he scrambled down the cliff and managed to hoist Dennis to a ledge wide enough for him to sit on.

  Dennis Andersen
Then he climbed back up and notified the Andersens.

Andersen and others formed a human chain to enable Howard to haul the boy to safety.

Kenneth Andersen later was arrested on a charge of careless driving after police saw him speeding at Minnehaha avenue and Fortieth street.

Today Andersen told Judge Rogers he was hurrying to tell friends the boy was safe, so the judge stayed a $25 fine one year.




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