Police have been found not responsible in the drowning death of a man in Port Alberni.
The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIOC) announced on Monday, Dec. 2 that it has concluded its investigation into an incident last week where a naked, bloody man fled from police and drowned.
“There is no evidence to indicate the actions of police were responsible for this tragic death,” the IIOC stated in a press release. “More accurately their efforts were an attempt to save his life.”
At approximately 3 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 28, Port Alberni RCMP received a call from a local business that an unclothed male, covered in blood, had just left the store and was at a nearby car wash. RCMP located the man, but he fled on foot and entered a tributary of the Port Alberni Inlet. Officers entered the water in an attempt to assist the man, but were unsuccessful.
An investigation conducted by the IIOC B.C. determined that the police responded to a man who had suffered injuries with the intent to obtain medical assistance for him.
“Two officers, one after the other, without regard for their own safety, entered the frigid water in attempts to save the male, who ignored officers and moved further out from shore,” the IIOC said.
Both officers had to return to shore due to the cold water. The man’s body was recovered approximately an hour later by Search and Rescue Personnel, using cold water recovery equipment.
The BC Coroners Service confirmed last week they had been looking into the death of a Port Alberni man in his late teens after this incident came to light.