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Hero Mountie saves distraught woman

A Kelowna Mountie is being hailed as a hero after risking his own life to save a woman from the freezing waters of Okanagan Lake last week.

On Nov. 27 around 10:30 p.m. officers received a report of a “distraught” 21-year-old woman who was clinging to the outside of the passenger walkway on the northbound side of the William R Bennett Bridge.

The first officer on scene attempted to negotiate with the woman, but she was evidently not interested and eventually pushed herself off the bridge and into the water.

According to RCMP, she landed feet first and appeared uninjured when she surfaced a few moments later and began treading water. Officers on top of the bridge removed the rear seats from their vehicle and dropped them down to the woman to use as a flotation device.

Meanwhile, Corporal Matt Hare, along with the help of a Protrans WRB Bridge employee, made his way to the water’s edge and swam to the woman’s aid. He then gathered up one of the floating seats and pulled the woman to shore, where they were both treated for hypothermia.

"After seeing the woman swim away from safety and begin struggling due to the cold, I knew that we couldn't wait for a boat so there was only one thing to do," said Cpl Hare.

"Without someone's help, she wasn't going to come ashore and it would've turned into a recovery mission."

This wasn’t even the first time this year that Hare preformed a water rescue, having jumped into the lake to save an intoxicated swimmer in September.

"Our members continue to impress me with the work they do every day," said Supt Nick Romanchuk, Officer in Charge of the Kelowna RCMP. Cpl. "Hare displayed exceptional bravery by saving this woman's life, at great risk to his own."

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