Esquimalt firefighters save drowning man

Firefighters spot manin the water, roughly 45 metres downstream from Tillicum Road Bridge

  • Apr. 20, 2015 5:00 a.m.

Three Esquimalt firefighters risked their own lives in a heroic effort to pull a man from the Gorge Waterway last Thursday.

On April 16 around 5:30 p.m., Esquimalt fire rescue services were notified by Victoria police that there was an 82-year-old man in distress at the Gorge Waterway near the Tillicum Road Bridge area.

Upon arrival, acting assistant chief Troy Saladana spotted the individual in the water, roughly 45 metres downstream from the bridge.

“The chief observed the individual who had stopped struggling in the water and was face down in the water and made a very quick life-safety assessment,” said fire chief Chris Jancowski. “He entered the water and swam out to the individual.”

With the help of two other firefighters, Saladana towed the man to shore and he was taken to hospital.

Jancowski, who has been on the job for four months, couldn’t say if Saladana has done anything like this before, but added he is proud of how the crew performed.

“I believe it would be characteristic of any firefighter especially with a senior experienced individual like himself who has been in the fire service for many years,” said Jancowski. “He definitely displayed heroic effort to stabilize and make the situation better.”

“I’m very proud of the crews’ actions, especially in the case of chief Saladana, to hopefully make someone’s day better on one of their worst days.”