Police help save suicidal man in Hope
A 41-year-old man almost took his life last Friday by jumping off the Fraser Bridge.
Hope RCMP Const. Marc Verreault was on a routine patrol heading north on Highway 1 at about 4:30 p.m. when he spotted the man walking in the southbound lane, where there’s no sidewalk.
“I was watching in my rear-view mirror and something just seemed unusual. So, I came back to check it out,” said Verreault. “I was in the right place at the right time.”
As he turned around, Verreault saw the man jump onto the concrete barrier, remove his shoes and jacket, and face the turbulent Fraser River.
He called for assistance, stopped highway traffic, and then started talking to the man. Meanwhile, Const. Francois Lewis and Staff Sgt. Suki Manj showed up at the scene in an unmarked cruiser, and while Verreault distracted the man, the two officers approached him from the opposite direction. Lewis was then able to walk up behind the man and pull him down off the barrier to safety.
“I was concerned if he saw me, he would jump into the water,” recalled Lewis. “So, I had to act quickly.”
Stopped travellers who had gathered at both ends of the span to watch the incident unfold quickly erupted into cheers and applause. The man was apprehended under the Mental Health Act and taken into medical care for treatment. Upon doing so, he admitted he was about to take his life and thanked the officers for their intervention.
“Intervention in a suicide attempt can be a very dangerous situation for a police officer,” said Cpl. Len vanNieuwenhuizen. “These three officers acted as a team and without hesitation to help preserve a human life.”