River rescue earns officers bravery award
One officer says it was 'an emotional day' and calls rescued woman brave for thinking on her feet
Four Fredericton Police officers received Commanding Officer Commendations, Tuesday, for the daring cold water rescue of a woman whose car plunged into the icy St. John River last January.
Const. Samantha McInnis said, "it was an emotional day," and commended the victim Shirley Foster for her quick thinking.
"We're just so happy she's okay and that she's a very strong woman to get on the phone and tell us where she thought she was," McInnis said.
"We're just really proud of her, she did really good in a very, very stressful situation."
Last January 73-year-old Foster hit a patch of ice and lost control of her vehicle.
As she and her car quickly sunk into the freezing waters of the St. John River, a quick-thinking Foster called 911 dispatch.
Recovering and unable to attend the ceremony, Foster told CBC News,
"I said this is Shirley Foster. I just hit a piece of ice in Maugerville right above the Big Potato and my car is going into the water and I'm scared of water. Please save me!"
Const. McInnis and Const. Jeff Smiley were first on the scene within minutes of the call and wasted no time wading into the frigid water.
"We just basically thought 'let’s get moving here!' and we need to get in the water and try and extract Mrs. Foster and get her back to land and into warmth as quickly and as safely as possible," said Const. McInnes.
Const. McInnis said it wasn't looking good when she pulled an unconscious Foster from the car.
"She didn’t have a pulse, she wasn't breathing," said Const. McInnis.
"So I began CPR and after the first two breaths a lot of water started coming up out of her. I just kept going and turned her on her side and then I felt a pulse come back. I notified dispatch we had a pulse."
Though Foster was not well enough to attend the ceremony, her daughter Jodi was in the audience.
It was the first time she had met her mother's rescuers. "We wanted to just run over there and hug them," Jodi Foster said, "and you know… there's just not enough to say to them to thank them for what they did."
Const. Mcinnis' partner, Const. Shawn Fraser and Cpl. Dwight Doyle were also commended for the dramatic rescue, though only Const. McInnis and Cpl. Doyle were present for the awards ceremony.
Shirley Foster told CBC News she hadn’t met her rescuers yet because she's afraid when she does she'll be an emotional wreck.
To that, Const. McInnis replied, "Geez, there's so much you can say but really I would just love to give her a hug and just tell her we're so happy… everyone from dispatch, we're just so happy she's okay... I can’t wait to meet her."
The New Brunswick RCMP recognized a total of 34 employees and police officers for long years of service and outstanding service.