Military rescues cop, prisoner who got stuck in ravine after a chase on foot

Cop and prisoner rescued

A dramatic police chase in rural Boundary country ended in Canadian Armed Forces and volunteer search and rescue crews flying to the scene and saving an RCMP officer and his prisoner who had fled on foot into a ravine. 

On Dec. 1 shortly after 3 p.m., Midway RCMP responded to the 1600 block of Fish Lake Road in Bridesville. The owner had called while watching a break-and-enter unfold over their surveillance cameras. 

When police arrived, they found five individuals who seemed to be fleeing the scene. One of those fled on foot after the four others were detained. 

"The break-in suspect entered into the river multiple times before ultimately being located and arrested by the determined officer," said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesman for the BC RCMP in the Southeast District. 

"The arresting officer and his prisoner found themselves nearly 400-feet down the ravine, trapped and unable to climb back out, or be reached by any conventional means. To complicate matters the suspect was quickly becoming hypothermic, while the officer was dealing with exposure to the frigid temperatures."

Police support arrived from neighbouring districts including Osoyoos, but they were unable to conduct a safe rescue. 

"Those officers were joined and supported by passerby who tossed warm clothing and supplies down to the officer to start a fire and keep warm," O'Donaghey said. 

After hours of exhaustive rescue efforts the BC RCMP called for urgent support from the Canadian Armed Forces who immediately dispatched both a Buffalo fixed wing SAR aircraft and a Cormorant SAR helicopter to the scene to assist with a MedEvac rescue.

At 9:20 p.m., the prisoner, a 47-year-old Bridesville man wanted on several outstanding warrants, was airlifted out and treated at a regional hospital for exposure-related injuries. 

At 10:15 p.m., the RCMP officer was airlifted out and did not require medical attention. 

A 44-year-old man, 45-year-old man, 35-year-old woman and a 51-year-old woman, all of the Bridesville area were released at the scene. Each face potential charges and are expected to appear in court at a later date.

The 47-year-old man who fled remains in custody facing additional charges. 

"BC RCMP expresses its deepest thanks to all those members of the community who were directly involved in looking out for the safety and well-being of one of our front line officers and our client by providing them warm clothing and supplies to start a fire for warmth. We also would like to sincerely thank our Canadian Armed Forces partners for their valued support," said C/Supt. Brad Haugli, district commander of the RCMP Southeast District.

Grand Forks Search and Rescue, Oliver/ Osoyoos Search and Rescue and Penticton & District Search & Rescue were all also involved in the rescue. 

“SAR teams consist of professional volunteers who give hundreds of hours of their time to assist in operations with tasking agencies, commented Brenda Arychuk, Information Officer for Oliver/ Osoyoos Search and Rescue.  


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