Police get help in response to distress call on Gorge Waterway

Victoria police were helped by several citizens Wednesday night when they responded to reports of a woman screaming for help from a boat anchored in the Gorge near Banfield Park.

At one point she was reportedly shouting: “He’s trying to kill me.”

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Details given to police about 7 p.m. indicated the woman was in distress and the boat was sinking. When they arrived, two paddle boarders were already at the boat trying to help.

Since the Victoria Police Department does not have a boat, officers contacted marine agencies and commandeered civilian craft in the vicinity.

Victoria Harbour Ferries took officers out to the boat, while a number of boaters and residents also offered their assistance.

As police approached the boat, a man came up on deck and was at first unco-operative. Police were eventually able to speak with the woman, who told them she was not in distress and did not need help.

Following that, the man was allowed to leave the boat on a makeshift stand-up paddleboard fashioned from a hot-tub cover.

No charges are being recommended and the boat was found to not be in immediate danger of sinking.

Victoria Police Chief Del Manak said the actions of the citizens who helped was commendable. “However, this event also highlighted how important it is to have clear protocol for a co-ordinated response to incidents like this in local waters,” he said. “That is something we will be reviewing in the wake of this incident.”

Six of the citizens who helped have been nominated for VicPD Civic Service Awards, which will be given out at a Sept. 24 ceremony.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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