Guardian angel, heroic cops and a life saved

Chilliwack RCMP dive into a freezing cold ditch to rescue a trapped driver

A 9-1-1 call from an 18-year-old Chilliwack woman trapped in a vehicle that’s flipped on its roof in a ditch and filling fast with water.

And then the line goes dead.

Chilliwack firefighters are dealing with emergencies on the other side of town at 11:30 a.m. on a snowy Wednesday morning, but several Chilliwack RCMP officers are finally able to locate the 2005 Hyundai 4-door in a ditch on Gibsons Road.

Only its tires are showing above the water line.

Knowing time is running out for whoever is inside, several police officers immediately jump into the water and try to lift the car up high enough to expose the back window, while another officer tries to break it with a window punch.

No dice, the window isn’t co-operating.

So the officer starts punching it with his bare fist, and keeps on punching until it breaks.

He then crawls inside the water-filled car and pulls the young girl to safety, handing her off to another officer outside who swims her to the edge of the ditch.

A waiting ambulance then takes her to Chilliwack General Hospital where she is treated for Stage 1 hypothermia.

“By the time police reached me, the water was up to my neck,” the young girl recalled later.

“A bunch of the officers went in the water to lift the car, and the next thing I knew I was being pulled out,” she said. “(Then) we had to swim.”

“I am just so grateful to everyone who was there yesterday to help me.”

RCMP Const. Tracy Wolbeck said the young girl had come “within an inch of her life” as the water rose around her.

“This is such a heroic act,” Wolbeck said. “A lot of bravery and selflessness on the part of all the officers involved went into saving this woman’s life yesterday.”

The officer who punched out the window needed several stitches in his badly sprained hand.

Found in the back of the Hyundai after it was pulled from the water — a guardian angel ornament, which the young girl hadn’t known was there.

It now has a prominent — and no doubt permanent — place on the family Christmas tree.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COLUMN: Don’t be surprised to see hordes of teenagers gathering during this pandemic

The complexity and nuance of public health warnings look like mixed messaging to minds young and old

RCMP escort beaver across busy Chilliwack road

Motorists had to exercise patience as the slow-moving creature crossed several lanes of traffic

Rail traffic starts moving after 60-car derailment near Hope

The 60 cars carrying potash crashed along a rail bridge, clean up is ongoing

Fraser Valley foursome to hike 70km over mountains in memory of friend

Friends from Abbotsford and Langley to hike from Hope to Tulameen for Brook Morrison

Chilliwack RCMP officers find rewarding work in Mental Health Liaison Unit

Two officers are trying to bridge the gap between police and those with mental health issues

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

One injured in South Surrey shooting

Shots reported in area of 194 Street and 34 Avenue

Report raises questions about COVID outbreak that killed 25 seniors at Langley Lodge

CEO defends leaked document that’s igniting queries about BC’s most deadly COVID outbreak

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Most Read