British Columbia

Police officers cleared in bizarre Port Alberni drowning

B.C.'s police watchdog has cleared officers who were called to a naked and bloodied man seen trying to clean up at a car wash. The man fled on foot, jumped into a river and drowned.

Man ran away from police and jumped into river after being seen naked and covered in blood at a car wash

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has cleared the actions of officers in the case of a man who drowned in a Port Alberni river while trying to escape. (CBC)

B.C.'s police watchdog has cleared RCMP officers of wrongdoing after a bizarre drowning case in Port Alberni.

The officers responded to a report of an unclothed man who was covered in blood and attempting to clean off at a car wash on Nov. 28, according to the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO).

When the officers arrived, the man fled on foot and jumped into a nearby river. 

"Two officers, one after the other, without regard for their own safety, entered the frigid water in attempts to save the male, who ignored officers and moved further out from shore. Both officers had to return to shore due to the impact of the cold water on their bodies," said the statement from the IIO, released Monday.

The man's body was recovered an hour later by search and rescue personnel with cold water equipment.

The IIO said the officers' efforts were an attempt to save the man's life and there is no evidence to indicate their actions were responsible for the death.  

The IIO is the independent civilian oversight agency of the police in B.C. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.

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