Shane Gibson

Global News

Manitoba RCMP say an officer tied a rope around himself and crawled out onto thin ice on a river in Grand Rapids to save a man from drowning early Wednesday. © RCMP Handout Grand Rapids RCMP at the scene where a man was rescued from the Saskatchewan River Wednesday.

Police say officers were responding to a call for help near a bridge crossing the Saskatchewan River around 9 a.m. when they saw a man being carried downstream by a strong current.

They say the man was eventually able to grab onto the ice at the edge of the river after drifting roughly 50 feet downstream in the icy water.

After an attempt to reach the man with a rope throw bag failed, RCMP say an officer trained in ice rescue tied the rope from the bag around his chest and used other officers and emergency responders as anchors as he crawled onto the ice to reach the man.

After grabbing hold of the man, who by this time was losing consciousness, the pair were pulled back off the ice to safety, police say.

Both the officer and the man were rushed to the Grand Rapids nursing station. The officer was uninjured and police say the man had minor injuries.

In a release Thursday, RCMP say the officer is one of roughly 90 officers who have taken the service’s ice rescue training in northern Manitoba in the last nine years.

Grand Rapids is roughly 394 km northwest of Winnipeg.