Armed Forces called to help Mountie in pursuit of prisoner in Boundary backcountry | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Armed Forces called to help Mountie in pursuit of prisoner in Boundary backcountry

RCMP cruiser and CAF Comorant SAR helicopter in the distance
December 02, 2020 - 11:48 AM

An RCMP officer was led down a deep ravine in pursuit of a prisoner Tuesday and a pair of Canadian Armed Forces search and rescue aircraft were dispatched from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron from 19 Wing Comox to help.

Midway RCMP responded Dec. 1 shortly after 3 p.m., to a report of a break and enter in progress to a property located in the 1600-block of Fish Lake Road, RCMP said in a press release. The Bridesville property owner was observing the situation unfold with their surveillance cameras and soon after RCMP officers responded to the scene where they encountered five individuals seemingly fleeing the area.

One of those break and enter suspects fled on foot in an apparent effort to further avoid capture, while the remaining four were detained by police. The fleeing suspect jumped into a ravine, followed closely by a pursuing officer.

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

Additional police officers responded to the scene from neighbouring jurisdictions including Osoyoos to assist.

"They were unable to safely rescue their colleague or his prisoner," O'Donaghey said. "Those officers were joined and supported by passerby’s who tossed warm clothing and supplies down to the officer to start a fire and keep warm."

After exhausting all options to safely extract the officer and his prisoner, 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 was airlifted out of the ravine by SAR Techs. The 47-year-old Bridesville man, was airlifted to a regional hospital for a full medical assessment and treatment for exposure related injuries.

At 10:15 p.m. the front line officer, who did not require any medical attention at the scene, was rescued from the ravine.

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.

Investigators have since determined that the 47-year-old Bridesville man, who fled from the responding officers, was wanted on several outstanding warrants for his arrest. He remains in police custody at this time and faces 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,"  C/Supt. Brad Haugli, District Commander of the RCMP Southeast District said in a release.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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