Oak Bay first responders rescue man trapped in storm drain
One Oak Bay police officer is being credited with holding the man's head above water until further assistance arrived: (Oak Bay Police)
VICTORIA -- Oak Bay first responders are being crediting with rescuing a man who was trapped in a subterranean storm drain Thursday.
According to the Oak Bay Fire Department, a man was servicing an underground pump tank that drains surface water in the 2800-block of Landsdowne Road when he became stuck.
Oak Bay fire assistant chief Gord Marshall described the pump tank as a concrete structure several feet underground that features a sump pump at the bottom that drains water away once it fills to a certain level.
To service the pump tank, the man removed part of the sump pump that is normally closed and controls the automatic draining of water. As the man was leaving, he dropped his cellphone and glasses into the exposed part of the pump, and when he reached in to retrieve the items, he became stuck.
Marshall says that with the pump in pieces, water would have filled the space unless it was removed by some other means.
"Without the pump in place, water would rise up and it may not have been a good turnout," said Marshall.
Fortunately, while the man was stuck, he was able to reach the phone that he had dropped and managed to contact a family member. The family member then called 911, and members of the Oak Bay Police Department, Oak Bay Fire Department, Britich Columbia Emergency Health Services paramedics and a Saanich police officer responded to the call.
The first person to arrive at the scene was Oak Bay Const. Sheri Lucas. Lucas immediately and literally jumped into action and entered the pump tank. She was able to hold the man's head above water until other first responders arrived.
"Quick action and the fact that he was able to actually communicate where he was, was very fortunate for him," said Marshall. "And it was a great save by all involved."
The assistant fire chief says that first responders were able to hoist Lucas out of the pump tank, and then manipulate the man's body enough to pull him free of the sump pump.
The man was then treated by paramedics for some water submersion, but appeared otherwise unharmed.
"He was pretty shaken up but was in good shape when he was out."