Sunshine Coast RCMP officers put their lives on the line recently to help save a suicidal woman on a local area beach.
RCMP were alerted to the beach on Aug. 25 about the possible suicide attempt.
Const. Harrison Mohr found the woman's vehicle, and then spotted a fully-clothed woman in the ocean nearby.
“She ignored me at first, and then asked to be left alone,” said Mohr. “Something definitely wasn't right.”
The woman refused to come back to shore, and when more officers arrived, she began swimming further out.
Mohr then made the decision to put his life at risk by swimming out after her.
“I didn't have time to look for a flotation device. I just gave my gun and duty belt to the other constable and started swimming out after her,” he said. “I was very worried for her safety at that point.”
He swam out and caught up with her about 100 to 150 metres off shore.
In the meantime, Const. Steve Kahng, who had just 45 days service with the RCMP, along with his trainer, who didn't wish to be named, commandeered a boat and rowed out to assist, positioning the boat in such a way to prevent the woman from swimming out further.
“I knew I had to open up communications with her — I needed to understand what she was going through,” said Mohr, who credited the recent training he'd received in crisis intervention for helping him to communicate with the troubled woman.
“I kept telling her, you're not in trouble. I'm here to help.
Finally she opened up, and started telling him some of the events that brought her to the point of trying to commit suicide.
After they talked for a while — treading water — Mohr told her that he was getting cold and the woman agreed to swim in with him. When they got to the shallows, the woman stopped, unable to stand because she'd been in the cold water for so long.
“Eventually she took my hand, I helped her up and we walked out together,” he said.
An ambulance was waiting at the beach and took her to hospital.
“As a detachment commander, I often see examples of how our Sunshine Coast RCMP police officers are committed to serving their communities. In this case, Const. Mohr exemplified that service by selflessly placing himself in harm's way while saving a member of our community,” said Staff Sergeant Herb Berdahl.
Mohr has two years service with the RCMP. He points out that it was very much a team effort, to successfully bring the woman back to shore.
Since the incident, the woman was admitted and then released from hospital.
“I'm just thankful this turned out OK,” Mohr said. “Being able to help someone in such a time of crisis is very rewarding.”