'We're going in': How Toronto cops saved 2 men drowning in a Scarborough pool

Two Toronto police officers pulled up at a Scarborough Motel Friday to a grisly sight — two men, face down in the pool and not moving.

Men saved amid rash of drowning calls in the region in recent weeks

Const. Randall Arsenault (left) and Const. Marleen Conley helped save the lives of two men who were drowning in a Scarborough pool Friday. (Randall Arsenault/Twitter)

Const. Randall Arsenault pulled up at a Scarborough motel Friday to a grisly sight — two men, face down in the pool and not moving.

He and his partner, Const. Marleen Conley, had been on the way to another incident that evening around 6:30 p.m. when a call came in as a "hotshot."

That's a high priority call, so the pair dropped everything and rushed to the scene at the Grand Motel in the Kingston Road and West Hill Drive area.

By that point, one man was sinking close to the bottom of the pool, Arsenault said.

Both officers knew what they had to do in that moment, he said. Both he and his partner are veteran officers, with Arsenault having been with the force for 18 years, and Conley for over 11.

"It was kind of a joint decision just by looking at each other that had to be made," he said.

"'That's it, we're going in.'"

The officers ripped off their vests and belts, and jumped in the pool. They pulled the two men up to the side.

"As you can imagine, they were heavy," he said.

Police say the two men were dressed to go swimming. (CBC)

The men weren't moving. Often, paramedics or firefighters get to a scene first, Arsenault said, but this time, it was Conley, himself and two other officers.

They started trading off, doing CPR right away, Arsenault said.

"You're trying to save their lives," he said.

"Training kicks in, instincts kick in, and you just hope you know what you're doing."

The four were doing CPR for what felt like a long time, Arsenault said, but in reality, paramedics showed up not long after.

They took over lifesaving efforts, but also declared the two men VSA — or "vital signs absent."

Emergency crews were called to the scene in the Kingston Road and West Hill Drive area at 6:30 p.m. (YanJun Li/CBC)

But CPR continued, and eventually, both men registered a pulse. They were later rushed to hospital. Sunnybrook Hospital did not have an update on their condition Monday.

Knowing that two people were brought back from the brink of death thanks to the efforts of the officers and paramedics was a huge moment, Arsenault said.

"It's like it all came together," he said.

This incident comes amid a rash of drownings in the region in recent weeks.

In just the last month, a 33-year-old mother in Pickering died trying to save her son, and a four-year-old girl is now recovering after she was found in an Oakville pool.

Her 79-year-old grandmother, who was in the pool with her, didn't make it.

In many of these cases, officials say, something could've been done.

"Get your drowning prevention certificates," Arsenault said.

"Take a class, take a course, whatever you've got to do, because it works."


Adam Carter


Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Toronto home. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at

With files from Taylor Simmons


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