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911 Awards: Going above and beyond

Going above and beyond the call of duty. It’s in the playbook of every first responder, and even members of the public. And it all came together in a team effort rescue on Sept. 7, 2014 for this year’s winners of the Community Safety Award of Valour.
911 Awards
Members of the RCMP, New Westminster Police Department and civilian Mike Smith (third from left) played roles in the rescue of passengers from a car overturned in the Fraser River last September. Photo by Kevin Hill/Special to the News

Going above and beyond the call of duty.

It’s in the playbook of every first responder, and even members of the public.

And it all came together in a team effort rescue on Sept. 7, 2014 for this year’s winners of the Community Safety Award of Valour.

That’s when civilian Mike Smith, who was riding his bike along River Road, was flagged down and told a car had gone into the river. Smith wasted no time and dove into the water, and removed an unconscious man, who was not breathing, from the overturned vehicle.

Smith managed to revive the man by giving him mouth to mouth rescucitation for several minutes.

Richmond Fire Rescue members arrived shortly afterwards, followed by New Westminster Police Department Const. Sean Hackman and the Richmond RCMP.

Hackman heard a child was possibly inside the vehicle, so he put on a life jacket and entered the water attempting to search the submerged car for more occupants.

A second unresponsive man was removed and taken to shore by Richmond Fire Rescue where CPR was started.

RCMP constables Hackman and Alex Arias, as well as Richmond Fire Rescue members, all made additional trips into the vehicle to ensure there were no other patients.

Meanwhile, constables Sean Tutt and Prince Opoku cleared the area of civilians and performed defibrillation on the second man.

Both occupants were transported to Royal Columbian Hospital where the first male, who Mike Smith had revived, remained unconscious.

Unfortunately, the second man was pronounced deceased.

Two days later, police received the report that the first man was recovering well, without significant injuries.

The work of all involved mitigated the impact of this tragic accident.

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