Rookie cop hailed as hero after rescuing woman from flash flood
Published Tuesday, July 11, 2017 1:20PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 11, 2017 10:13PM EDT
A rookie Montreal police officer is being hailed as a hero after taking swift action to save a woman caught in a flash flood.
Last Saturday at 6:30 p.m., 23-year-old Const. Rafael Beaulieu pulled a woman from her car after it became stuck at the Victoria Ave. underpass on Jean-Talon Blvd. during torrential rains.
Cars in front of and behind the woman managed to pull away, but her car quickly became stuck as it filled with water.
Watching from her 10th-storey apartment, Linda Toulch called 911 and began filming the incident on her iPad.
"I looked up and saw that there were cars turning around on Victoria in the wrong direction," she said.
She stopped filming because she feared she was about to witness this woman’s demise.
"I said I can't take this. I can't film somebody drowning," said Toulch.
Instead, this story has a happy ending.
Beaulieu, who has only been on the force since May, arrived at the scene in a squad car, while watching from above, Toulch could see the officer was in water over his head
"I saw that the woman was panicking, and was already in the back seat of her car," said Beaulieu.
Realizing the car's windows would not open and it was too difficult to open the doors, Beaulieu quickly took off his gun belt and used his baton to smash the window.
He then pulled the woman, who did not know how to swim, out of the car, but they were not safe yet..
"She was holding on to me, and that was sending us to the bottom," said Beaulieu. To stay above water, he grabbed onto the only thing available: the jagged, broken glass of the rear window.
"My husband could see the blood pouring down his arm," said Toulch.
Beaulieu's partner, Simon Lavoie, then arrived and jumped into the water to help, getting everyone out of danger.
Toulch went to Station 26 to thank the officer because she was very impressed with his actions that morning.
"That is a hero and I'm hoping this inspires other people to be heroes," said Toulch.
Beaulieu suffered minor injuries to his hand, and shrugged off the notion that he is a hero.
"It's great to know that our work [as police officers] is appreciated," said Beaulieu.