Russian who died trying to save child in US honored

A Russian man who died trying to save a 3-year-old girl was honored Friday with Carnegie medal for heroism.

Vitaly Tsikoza, 41, of Novosibirsk, Russia, fell 400 feet (122 meters) to his death trying to save 3-year-old family friend Paulina Filippova at American Fork Canyon in Utah on Sept. 24.

Paulina had fallen from a trail on to a narrow ledge about 75 feet (23 meters) below when Tsikoza tried to reach her.

Two Americans - Mickey Horak, 26, and Marc Ellison, 34 - who reached the girl and kept her safe until help arrived were also honored.

The Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission meets five times annually to choose honorees, who are brought to its attention through newspaper articles or tips on its Web site. Recipients, or their survivors, receive a bronze medal and US$5,000 (EUR3,665).

Industrialist Andrew Carnegie started the fund in 1904 after being inspired by rescue stories from a mine disaster that killed 181 people.

Marlin A. Coats, 29, a store manager from California, was also cited Friday. He died helping to save two boys, ages 11 and 14, from drowning in the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco on May 14, 2006.

Another honoree was Christopher Lyons, 40, of New York, who died trying to save 13-year-old Tyshon Hawkins from drowning in the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey, on July 31.

Others cited included Frank Hicks V, 23, who saved three people, including a 2-year-old boy, from a burning sport utility vehicle on July 28 in California; and Mathew Vizbulis, 28, a Canadian artist who saved a man and his two sons from drowning in the Niagara River on July 29.

Since the fund was established, 9,111 people have received medals and US$29.6 million (EUR21.7 million) has been awarded in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits and continuing assistance.