A Mountie in Queens County lept into frigid water near Liverpool and swam out in windy conditions to help rescue a woman unable to swim to land after a truck crashed into the Mersey River.
The officer "tied a rope around his waist, secured it on shore with other first responders, and swam out to the woman using a paddle board from a nearby residence," RCMP described in a news release about the May 10 incident. "The RCMP member and the woman were both pulled safely to shore."
The sequence of events unfolded after 10 a.m. when police, paramedics and Liverpool volunteer firefighters were sent to Highway 8 in Milton where a pickup truck went into the nearby river.
The man, 65, driving the truck, was able to swim to safety but his 59 year old female passenger ran into difficulties "and had difficulty keeping her head out of the water," police said.
John Long, a captain with the local fire department, told LighthouseNOW he hopes there's recognition in the future for the officer who jumped into action that morning. Long, speaking to CBC News, estimated the Ford F-150 was "at least 10 or 12 meters from shore."
"He deserves kudos for that because that took [guts], I'll tell you," Long told LighthouseNOW.
The officer, however, doesn't want the spotlight. RCMP said he's declining interview requests and doesn't even want his name shared with the media.
"He has stated and feels it was a team effort and any member in his position would have acted the same." Queens district RCMP Staff Sgt. Dan Archibald told LighthouseNOW.
Emergency responders formulated a plan once they determined the woman's condition was worsening due to the cold water. "They do not wish to bring any specific attention to themselves in the matter," Archibald said. " It was a great act on their behalf, as well as all first responders who attended that day."
The woman and the driver of the vehicle were transported to hospital by EHS. The woman was treated with non-life threatening injuries and is expected to make a full recovery.
"There are two very lucky people walking today," Long said.
The truck went completely underwater. Liverpool and Port Medway volunteer firefighters, along with a recovery crew, went out later that night and helped haul the vehicle out of the river.