Winnipeg officers swim out to rescue woman in Red River: police
WINNIPEG -- Winnipeg police officers made an early morning river rescue when a woman was found screaming for help in the Red River.
Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth said he was an eyewitness to the rescue. He said he was woken up around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday by his neighbour banging on his door.
Smyth said his neighbour told him a woman was in the river behind their homes and was in crisis.
The police chief said 911 was called, and within minutes police and fire resources filled his backyard on the riverbank around along Scotia Avenue near Kildonan Park.
"I got to tell you—my backyard looked like a scene out of a movie there for a short period of time as our members were out with flashlights frantically trying to search the riverbank to locate and spot the woman in the water," Smyth said.
"It was very dark last night, the water is still very cold, and based on the sound—and that is really all we could go by at that time—the woman seemed to be about 40 feet off shore."
Police said officers could hear splashing and calls for help. Smyth said once they spotted the woman who was drifting down the river, officers tried to call out to her.
"She was clearly hysterical and in crisis," he said.
But after a while, Smyth said the woman went silent. Fearing she was losing her strength, Smyth said one of the officers took charge.
A resident nearby gave the officers a rope, and they created a human chain.
"No fewer than four of our members stripped to their skivvies and slipped into the water and swam out into the darkness, supported by several members back on the shore who helped tether them," Smyth said.
"I can't tell you how relieved I was when I saw them take hold of the woman and make it back to shore safely."
Smyth said the 37-year-old woman was taken to hospital in stable condition as a precaution.
Winnipeg police told CTV News they don't know how the woman ended up in the river. Police said when she was rescued, she was still in crisis and was not able to give police any details.