Friday, August 24, 2012



AUGUST 22 2012

Potential tragedy was averted Sunday evening when two Fredericton Police Force officers plunged into the St. John River to rescue two men whose canoe had overturned.

A third police officer who was part of the rescue mission remained on shore on the north side of the river during the incident, which occurred under the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge at about 8:20 p.m.

Only one of the men in the canoe was wearing a life-jacket.

Const. Mike Cook swam about 30-40 metres to the overturned canoe wearing a life-jacket from a police car while Const. Aaron Frizzell swam half way out with a tow rope.

Both men went in the water after removing most of their equipment and some of their uniform, said Frizzell.

Const. Jeff MacLaggan remained on shore ready to assist with the rope.

A nearby boater was spotted and summoned to provide assistance to police. Both men, one aged 58 and the other 32, were placed on board and brought to shore without incident.

The Fredericton fire marine unit was also on scene and returned one of the officers to shore and also returned the canoe in question to Carleton Park, police reported. No one was injured in the incident.

Frizzell, a 10-year veteran, rejected the suggestion he and his fellow officers are heroes.

“I wouldn’t say that at all, actually ... I guess it was something we signed up for,” he said in an interview Monday afternoon.

“Anyone else that would have got there, be it the firefighters or anyone else, would have done the same thing ... We just did what we were supposed to do.”

Frizzell said there was no time to be afraid when they arrived.

“It happened all so quick,” he said.

“It was really just brainstorming about how we were going to get these two out.”

Frizzell said he’s strong swimmer.

“I went almost a little further than half way with the expectations of him (Cook) taking one to me and me going the rest of the way in and doing both of them that way,” he said.

“It just so happened that a boat was coming and the other officer that was with us, Jeff MacLaggan, notice and started yelling for the boat.”

He said the water was warm and the river current wasn’t strong.

“At that point, they were not talking to us a whole lot, but I don’t believe they were in the water very long,” said Frizzell.

“I remember one of them saying he felt they were in the water about 20 minutes before we actually got there.”

He said warmth of the water and the fact the sun was still up helped a lot in the rescue.

The officer also praised the people in the second boat who noticed assistance was needed.

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