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Three Sunshine Coast RCMP officers save suicidal woman in ocean. When the suicidal woman ignored Constable Harrison Mohr’s pleas to come back to shore, and started swimming away from the beach, he knew he had to swim out after her.
“I didn’t have time to look for a flotation device,” says Cst. Mohr. “I just gave my gun and duty belt to the other constable and started swimming out after her.”
On the evening of August 25 Sechelt RCMP were alerted that a woman may be trying to commit suicide by drowning herself in the ocean off a local beach. Cst. Mohr was able to find 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,” says Cst. Mohr. “Something definitely wasn’t right.”
The woman refused to come back to shore, and when more police arrived, she began swimming further out. “I was very worried for her safety at that point,” says Cst. Mohr. He swam out after her and caught up with her about 100-150 yards off shore. In the meantime Constable Steve Kahng, who has just 45 days service with the RCMP, along with his trainer who doesn’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,” says Cst. Mohr. He credits recent RCMP 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,” he says. 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 – Cst. 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,” says Cst. Mohr. 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, Constable Mohr exemplified that service by selflessly placing himself in harm’s way while saving a member of our community, says Staff Sergeant Herb Berdahl.
Cst. 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, which happened August 25, the woman has been admitted and then released from hospital. “I’m just thankful this turned out okay,” says Cst. Mohr. “Being able to help someone in such a time of crisis is very rewarding.”
S.E. Chubey, CPL #47965
Administration NCO ic First Nations Policing and Youth Media Relations