Calgary Transit officers saves woman submerged in Icy Bow River

Two Calgary Transit officers are being hailed as heroes after rescuing a woman from the ice-covered Bow River.

Returning from a call at the Marlborough LRT station Saturday afternoon, officers Bob Hope and D’Arcy Hare were driving south over the Langevin Bridge when they saw a woman submerged up to her neck and clinging to the ice below. “We observed initially a male … walking on the ice — he was walking toward a female,” said Hare, an officer for eight years.

“At that time it was uncertain if she was in the water of not, however my partner indicated there was somebody … on the edge of the ice.” With the temperature sitting at -13C, the pair called for backup and raced to help.

“Upon getting close to both of them it was observed by us the male had the female about three-quarters of the way out of the water onto the surface of the ice, however he was was struggling to get her the rest of the way,” said Hare. “At that point my partner and I decided we needed to assist him and intervene.”

The officers managed to pull the woman from the water and drag her about 15 metres to the shore, where firefighters and paramedics were waiting. “She was very, very cold,” said Hope, who’s been a transit officer for the last two years and was in law enforcement in the U.K. for 25 years before that.

“Her hair had begun to freeze completely, she had closed fists and wasn’t able to speak to us much.” Hare said the woman was wearing black track pants and a jacket, but had no toque or gloves. The pair figure she was in the water for nearly two minutes. The woman was rushed to hospital where she remained Monday.

Brian Whitelaw, head of public safety and enforcement for Calgary Transit, called the officers heroes. “Their actions were immediate when it came to recognizing somebody needed help right away,” he said. “Officers, particularly in the downtown core, maintain a watchful eye for people’s health and safety at all times but this is not something that (officers) train for.”

Hare, however, said the pair were simply doing their jobs. “I would suggest anybody in that circumstance would probably react in quite a similar manner,” he said. “At the time it just seemed like the right thing to do.”

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