Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

RCMP officer rescues woman from Fairford River

  • Print

A Manitoba RCMP officer is being credited with saving the life of a distraught woman who drove her car off a bridge and into an icy, fast-flowing river.

The incident began last Friday evening when Gypsumville RCMP were called about a woman who had left her residence in Fairford with the intention of possibly harming herself. Police soon spotted the woman’s car on the Fairford Bridge. As they approached her to speak, the woman hit the gas pedal and drove off the road and into the Fairford River.

"There was a big splash. We couldn’t believe what happened," Gypsumville RCMP Const. Fraser Potts told the Free Press today.

The vehicle began floating downstream, and Potts his partner saw the woman flee her car just before it sank.

"She was mumbling ‘Can’t swim, can’t swim’," said Potts, 28. "I was trying to show her how to swim but the current was pulling her away."

The woman was struggling to stay afloat, so Potts knew he had to act fast. He took off his police vest and gun belt and jumped into the icy waters and began swimming towards the woman.

"It was freezing cold. But I thought I had to try and save her," said Potts.

Potts reached the woman and told her to stay still, as he was worried she may try to fight him and make it impossible to rescue her. Potts was trying to swim with the woman to shore when a boat that had been put in the water by several Fairford band members came by to pull them both to safety.

Both Potts and the woman were treated in hospital for exposure to the elements. Potts, who is originally from Waterloo, Ontario, said this is definitely the most dramatic incident of his four-year police career.

"It hasn’t really sunk in yet," he said.


Updated on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 2:18 PM CDT: Updates with quotes.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

The Winnipeg Free Press is not accepting comments on this story.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Government questioned over water woes at Shoal Lake

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100615 - Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 The Mane Attraction - Lions are back at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Xerxes a 3-year-old male African Lion rests in the shade of a tree in his new enclosure at the old Giant Panda building.  MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos


Will you miss the old Banana Boat building?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google