A distraught and hypothermic man was saved by a local police dog during last week’s snowstorm in Campbell River.
Cpl. Ron Vlooswyk said late in the evening on Jan. 8 and in the early morning of Jan. 9, they were called out to locate a distraught man who was confused and thought other men were chasing him.
His family tried to bring the man to hospital but he fled on foot to a heavily wooded area. At the time, it was snowing and the temperature was 0 C. The man was only dressed in track pants, dress shoes and a coat.
Vlooswyk said the Campbell River RCMP Police Dog Service was called in to help. Gator then led officers through dense bush covered in heavy wet snow to a field where the track zig-zagged through five inches (13 cm) of snow, showing the man was struggled and disoriented.
Just after 12:30 a.m., Gator found the man laying down in a depression covered in snow. Vlooswyk said the man was extremely cold, could not get up and was unable to speak clearly. Officers brought him to paramedics for immediate medical attention for hypothermia. The man was wrapped in heated blankets and heat packs, then taken to hospital.
“The man fell into the depression and could not get out due to exhaustion and cold. He could not be seen by the officers,” Vlooswyk said in a statement. “It is very unlikely he would have survived the night if Gator had not found him and had he not received medical attention from the ambulance attendants on scene.”