RCMP Sgt. Major Robert Daly jumped into action to rescue a driver from a submerged vehicle in Vernon on Jan. 24, 2020. (Submitted photo)

‘Truly heroic’: Police officer pulls Okanagan man from car submerged in frigid waters

RCMP Staff Sgt. Major Robert Daly jumped into action Jan. 24 while off duty with his daughter

The RCMP are recognizing one of their own after an officer leaped into action to pull a man from a car submerged in a Vernon creek.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Major Robert Daly was off duty and driving through Vernon with his daughter on Jan. 24 when around 10:40 p.m., he witnessed a car drive off the highway and out of sight.

Daly immediately pulled over and went to the crash site by foot while his daughter called 911, the RCMP said in a press release.

The Southeast District officer discovered the vehicle overturned and mostly submerged in the creek that runs alongside Highway 97, north of 48th Avenue. Daly wasted no time jumping into the frigid waters to try and pull the trapped driver out.

After some effort to open the door against the creek’s current, Daly cut the driver’s seat belt with a pair of scissors and brought the man’s head above water.

Vernon firefighters helped Daly pull the unresponsive man from the water and began life-saving measures. The 37-year-old Vernon man was rushed to hospital in serious condition.

Daly was uninjured aside from having been exposed to cold water for a prolonged period of time. Despite Daly’s efforts, the driver did not survive his injuries.

“It was with profound sadness that the RCMP learned that the driver has since succumbed to his injuries in hospital,” RCMP Southeast District spokesman Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said. “We, the RCMP, wish to extend our deepest condolences to the man’s loved ones.”

“Staff Sgt. Major Daly is an invaluable member of the Southeast District senior executive team,” Chief superintendent Brad Haugli said.

“The emotional impacts from that day are still fresh for both Robb and his daughter who tried to save a life. We will continue to provide them ongoing support. Their combined efforts were truly heroic.”

READ MORE: Social media key in search for missing Vernon man

READ MORE: Two arrested north of Williams Lake after police warn residents to stay inside


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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