5 men who used turbans as rope in heroic rescue receive special awards
'I'm feeling really proud I have a turban,' said Gurpreet Singh after receiving a community leader award
Five young men whose quick thinking saved the lives of two others earlier this month in Golden Ears Park received special commendations from the Ridge Meadows RCMP and the B.C. cities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows on Tuesday morning.
Ajay Kumar, Arvindjeet Singh, Gagandeep Singh, Kuljinder Singh and Gurpreet Singh pulled off the dramatic rescue by tying their turbans and jackets together to make a 10 metre-long makeshift rope.
They then pulled the stranded men, who were in danger of being swept into fast moving waters near the 10 metre high Lower Falls, to safety.
"I'm feeling really happy, I can't really explain it right now. It's really good for our community," said Gurpreet Singh, speaking on behalf of the group. "I'm feeling really proud I have a turban."
The rescuers, all in their 20s and current or former international students, were presented with a special coin and a community leader award by Ridge Meadows RCMP Supt. Wendy Mehat, who made special mention of the cultural significance of the men using turbans, a Sikh religious symbol, to perform the rescue.
At the time of the incident, Ridge Meadows search and rescue manager Rick Laing said one of the men, who appeared to be in his 20s, had slipped on some slick rock and fell into a pool above the Lower Falls.
Searchers said how the pair got to the pool or if one man slipped down from the top or climbed down to the pool before he fell in, is not clear.
WATCH | Man scrambles to safety after rescuer throws turban-rope down rocky slope:
"I've been a police officer for 21 years and I've never seen anything like this," said Mehat. "As a police officer from the Sikh faith, to see this kind of heroic rescue, I was extremely proud."
Gurpreet Singh said the men have received international media attention. They are scheduled to meet B.C. Premier John Horgan Wednesday afternoon.
"That's a really good thing for us and our religion," he said. "We got a lot of appreciation in our [home] country as well."