New Brunswick

Student attempts 'courageous' rescue in Saint John harbour

Saint John police are praising a university student for his attempts to rescue a man drowning in the frigid city harbour.

Saint John police are praising a university student for his attempts to rescue a man drowning in the frigid city harbour.

Alex Scott, 24, was walking along the Saint John waterfront when he heard cries for help. A trained lifeguard, Scott jumped into the cold water near the Hilton Hotel to attempt to rescue the man while his friends ran to call 911.

When police and firefighters arrived on the scene at about 4 p.m. Wednesday the University of New Brunswick student had been trying to keep the other man's head above water for about 10 minutes.

Fire crews used a flotation device and a rope to pull the two men to shore.

The rescued man was pronounced dead at the hospital. Scott was treated for hypothermia and released.

Scott said he had struggled to find anything to hold onto during the rescue attempt and his body began to shut down in the cold temperatures.

He grabbed onto the wharf at one point but there wasn't anything there to get a real hold on, Scott told CBC News on Thursday.

"If there had just been one thing down there to grab on to, like the ladder on the other side or even if there was a life preserver or sign, saying rescue equipment at the front desk of the Hilton where somebody could have run and grabbed something, this would have been different," he said.

Scott said he had called to the about 15 onlookers to throw him something to use as a floatation device but nothing could be found.

"I think he did a wonderful job," said Sgt. Robert Buck. "It's pretty courageous jumping in the water like that after a fellow."

Police are not yet releasing the name of the victim and said it isn't clear how he got in the water.