Police used civilian vessels to reach a woman screaming for help on the Gorge Waterway Wednesday night.
Around 7 p.m., reports came in of a woman in distress on a boat anchored near Banfield Park. Initially, police believed the boat was sinking, and as officers arrived they saw two paddle boarders near the side of the boat, trying to help the screaming woman.
Without a marine unit, VicPD officers sought assistance from civilian vessels, even hitching a ride with the Victoria Harbour Ferries. By that time the woman was reportedly screaming, “he’s trying to kill me.” A number of locals offered up their boats to help, VicPD reports.
When officers got to the boat, they learned the vessel was not sinking. A man came up on the deck and was “initially uncooperative and not compliant with police direction.” Eventually police were able to speak with the woman onboard. She told them she was not in distress and didn’t need any help from police.
The man who had come onto the deck earlier was allowed to leave and did exactly that – hopping onto a makeshift stand-up paddleboard created from a hot tub lid.
No charges are being recommended from the incident.
VicPD commended the civilians who offered their help during the incident. Six in particular have been nominated for VicPD Civic Service Awards.
“The actions of these citizens was commendable and allowed VicPD officers to reach the vessel to render assistance,” Manak said. “These six citizens stepped up and greatly assisted the Victoria Police Department when we needed them most.”
Manak also said the incident will lead to a review of the police force’s water response protocol.
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