Skip to content

Nicomekl vehicle rescuers awarded with RCMP Officer in Charge commendations

First responders to South Surrey crash honoured for their bravery
Burnaby firefighter Paul Rushton, left, Surrey firefighters Thomas McDougall and Duane Foley, Surrey RCMP Const. Steven Dalton with Surrey RCMP Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards Wednesday (April 10). Edwards awarded the first responders with RCMP Officer in Charge Commendations – as well as Surrey lifeguard Heather Jones, who was unable to attend – for their bravery and quick thinking during a rescue last May that involved a driver and vehicle that were submerged in the Nicomekl River after a collision in South Surrey. (Contributed photo)

Several first responders to an incident last May that sent a vehicle into the Nicomekl River have been honoured by the RCMP for their efforts in the rescue.

Surrey RCMP Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards awarded those involved with RCMP Officer in Charge commendations on Wednesday (April 10) in Surrey, for their bravery and quick thinking during a May 7, 2023 rescue.

A collision sent a vehicle into the South Surrey river that afternoon, and off-duty Burnaby firefighter Paul Rushton and Surrey lifeguard Heather Jones (who was unable to attend the Wednesday event) were the first on scene; Rushton was first in the water and realized the driver was in medical distress.

The pair began rescue efforts while simultaneously trying to provide medical assistance, as well as attending to a second person in the submerged vehicle.

READ ALSO: Collision sends vehicle into the Nicomekl River

Const. Steve Dalton was the first RCMP member on scene and swam to the vehicle to assist with extraction and providing first aid; Surrey firefighters Dwayne Foley and Tom MacDougall were members of the first fire crew on scene, and they immediately swam across the river to assist with CPR on the rooftop.

They also helped with the technical water rescue to safely move the patients to the river bank.

“Their actions, alongside the efforts of RCMP, Surrey Fire Service Technical Rescue Team, BC Ambulance, and courageous bystanders, undoubtedly saved a life. A heartfelt thank you to all involved for their selfless dedication and commitment to serving our community,” Surrey Firefighters posted on Instagram.

The five were also previously awarded Surrey Fire Service awards of Merit and Valour for their actions at the scene.

READ ALSO: Surrey Fire Service honours merit, valour of Nicomekl car crash helpers

Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’m a lifelong writer, and worked as a journalist in community newspapers for more than a decade, from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey, from 2001-2012
Read more