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First responders collaborate to rescue Trail man during mental health crisis

A dramatic and potentially very dangerous series of events Friday ended peacefully, with one man taken to hospital for treatment of a mental health crisis, according to Trail RCMP Sgt. Mike Wicentowich.

"On July 3 at 1:46 p.m., the Trail and Greater District RCMP responded to a report of a man causing a disturbance in downtown Trail BC. Front line RCMP officers attended the area and located the individual on Second Avenue near Victoria Street. Police officers assessed the situation and believed that the man was experiencing a mental health crisis, therefore they attempted to utilize crisis-intervention and de-escalation techniques," Wicentowich said.

"The Trail man, in his 40s, fled from police on foot through residential yards, before entering into the river and swimming out to a floating dock at Gyro Park. Six youth bystanders were rescued by first responders aboard the Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue vessel, after they became isolated at the end of the dock.

"The male remained on the boat dock until he once again re-entered the water. While in the water, RCMP officers were able to safely apprehend the male under the B.C. Mental Health Act without further incident. He was taken to hospital for a full medical assessment and care.

"The Trail and Greater District RCMP would like to thank outside RCMP support services, Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue, BC Emergency Health Services and all the members of the general public who assisted in bringing this incident to a peaceful resolution."

In a later interview, Wicentowich said mental health calls are a daily occurrence for local police, who work in lockstep with mental health service organizations in the region.

"We have a very good relationship with our mental health services," he said, adding they meet once a month to identify situations and/or individuals in which intervention or added support is required.

"In Trail, we can approach our health care partners ... they have been so good at responding with supports that remove people from the criminal system, instead providing the help they need to get back on track."

He also offered high praise to Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue for deploying their boat in just minutes to assist.

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