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The Hanoi Hilton 3500 feet above the ground John had just released his bombs over his target As he began to pull back on his stick to climb to a safer altitude a SAM surface-to-air missile hit his plane The flying telephone pole struck the right wing of Johns A-4 bomber He radioed Im hit reached up and pulled the ejection seat handle Striking the burning plane as he ejected out John broke his left arm his right arm in three places and his right knee the force also briefly knocked him unconscious McCain 189 Villagers watched as Johns chute briefly opened before he plunged into the shallow water of the Truc Bach Lake in Hanoi North Vietnam He landed in the middle of the lake in the middle of the capital city in the middle of the day He regained conscious when he struck the water Wearing fifty pounds of gear he touched the bottom of the shallow lake and kicked off with his good leg I didnt feel any pain as I broke the surface and I didnt understand why I couldnt move my arms to pull the cord on my life vest John said Failing to inflate his life vest John quickly sank back to the bottom and then broke the surface again He managed to pull the cord with his teeth inflating his life vest and then he blacked out again 189-190 When he came to the second time he was being pulled ashore with two bamboo poles by a group of angry Vietnamese A crowd of several hundred Vietnamese gathered around him McCain 190 One of the armed villagers broke Johns shoulder with the butt of a rifle and stabbed him in the groin with the attached bayonet The crowd then stripped him of his clothes spit on him then kicked and struck him repeatedly Ackerman 2 John was freed from the angry mob by
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