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New West police help boaters in sinking boat on Fraser River

Passerby called 911 after hearing people yelling for help from river near New Westminster waterfront
Shaw-1 file
NWPD officers used Shaw-1 to help rescue to people in a boat that was slowly sinking in the Fraser River on Thursday night.

New Westminster police helped injured passengers aboard a slowly-sinking boat on the Fraser River make it to shore after passersby heard their calls for help.

About 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 14, the police department received a 911 call from a resident who was near the Fraser River and could hear people yelling for help. The resident couldn’t be sure if the people were in the river.

New Westminster police officers boarded the department’s police boat, Shaw-1, and requested assistance from the Coast Guard and the Air One helicopter.

According to the NWPD, officers soon located a boat that had sustained significant damage. The two passengers onboard were in need of medical care.

“It was at that time officers coordinated with BC Ambulance to be waiting at a nearby dock,” said the NWPD press release. “Officers were able to guide the sinking vessel to the dock, where the two people on board disembarked and were assessed by paramedics. One person was transported to local hospital.”

Hailey Finnigan, the police department’s strategic communications coordinator, said the call for help came from the New West shoreline. NWPD officers guided the boat to a dock in Richmond.

Through the years, members of the police department’s marine unit have responded to a variety of calls, such as people who had been swept away by the river’s strong current and stolen boats.

“The NWPD marine unit allows us to continue our high level of service delivery to those who utilize the waterways bordering New Westminster,” said NWPD spokesperson Sgt. Justine Thom. “Considering the boat was slowly sinking, we’re thankful that Shaw-1 was deployed in this rescue. A special thanks to the person who heard the calls for help and dialed 911. Thanks to their quick thinking and the work of patrol officers, these people are now recovering in the care of family.”

According to the NWPD press release, officers were unable to determine exactly the cause of the damage sustained by the boat. At this time, impaired boating isn’t believed to have been a factor in the incident.

Shaw-1 is named in memory of the late NWPD Sgt. Ken Shaw, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2008. The police vessel was previously known as Mike-1.


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