At approximately 1:45 pm, Saanich Police received a call concerning a 15 year old female in distress and in the frigid ocean water off Finnerty Cove near the Queen Alexandra Hospital.
Multiple agencies were involved in the response, including the Coast Guard, the Rescue Coordination Centre, the Saanich Fire Department, the Saanich Police Department, ther Victoria Police Marine Response Unit, the Greater Victoria Integrated Police Dive Team, and the Provincial Ambulance Service.
Shortly after receiving the information, the Rescue Coordination Centre put out the distress call and requested the assistance of any vessels in the immediate area. The Cormorant Rescue Helicopter out of Victoria was also dispatched.
Saanich Police confirmed with staff from Ledger House, a Pediatric Mental Health facility, that the 15 year old female was a patient from the facility.
“The patient was walking in the area with a staff member from the facility, when without warning, she ran to the beach and into the water”, Sgt. Steve Eassie said. “The youth refused to acknowledge the direction of staff to return to the shoreline and the youth swam out into the middle of the bay”.
When police arrived on scene minutes later, the youth was observed to be between 100 and 150 meters from shore with her head still above water.
The motive behind the actions of the youth are unknown at this time, however, it was noted that she was reluctant to leave the water when help arrived.
Two boats that were not far from the area attended and were able to remove the female from the water after a brief struggle with her. The youth was returned to the shoreline where she was taken into custody and checked medically by the Provincial Ambulance Service before being taken to an area hospital.
The youth did not appear to suffer any long lasting effects from this incident.
“We are thankful for the assistance that all of the agencies provided in this well coordinated response to a challenging situation” Sgt. Steve Eassie said. “We are especially thankful for the assistance from the two boats and their occupants that rendered the timely help in removing the female from the water”.
The female was reported to be in the water for approximately 21 minutes.
Saanich File 13-5637
Sgt. Steve Eassie #158