Surrey RCMP Police Officer. Ngawang Gonpo said “there is no time to think twice” to save an 80-year-old couple whose vehicle plunged into a cold pool last week.
On Wednesday (December 15), Gonpo was involved in a dramatic rescue after a vehicle left the road and entered a swimming pool.
Const. Sarbjit Sangha told Now-Leader that preliminary reports indicate that a vehicle, with two elderly occupants inside, lost control and veered off the road near the 16500 block of Glenwood Crescent South.
The vehicle went through a fence, ended up in a swimming pool and “quickly submerged”.
The owners called 911 and Gonpo arrived a few minutes later and jumped into the pool, police said.
Gonpo, who has worked in the neighborhood for more than six years, said it was his third call of the day when he heard the call on the radio.
|Surrey RCMP Police Officer. Ngawang Gonpo|
“As soon as I heard the address on the radio, I knew where to go.”
When he arrived at the house, Gonpo said it was run by one of the owners. He saw the vehicle as soon as he entered the yard.
“It was almost completely submerged in the water,” Gonpo said, adding that the vehicle was tilted towards the deep end of the pool.
He said he asked one of the owners and a neighbor to take care of his seat belt, adding that he “trusted him immediately”, and he jumped into the pool.
“There was no time to think twice.”
But Gonpo said he was “not the best swimmer,” describing him as a four or five out of ten. “All I know is how to float on water. I float enough.
The front passenger window was open, he noted, so he reached out and managed to unlock the door.
“But because of the water pressure – there was tremendous pressure there – I couldn’t open the door wide open. It took me at least five, six, seven times. I don’t even remember it, ”he explained. “All I remember is I screamed out loud saying, ‘Come on, I can do this. “”
Initially, the visibility was so poor that Gonpo could not see the driver, an elderly man. He came to the surface and could see the man, but there was water up to his jaw.
Coming back down, Gonpo said, “I just felt his hand grab me and as soon as I felt that I tried to grab it. I said to him, ‘Sir, I’m going to drag you out. Please sir, it might hurt a little bit, but hold on to me, don’t let go.
He then went to help the driver’s wife, who was partly out of the vehicle. Gonpo added that he doesn’t remember much of what she said except that the water was cold.
The couple were taken to hospital, police said, but “luckily (had) no obvious injuries.”
After taking the couple out of the pool, Gonpo said a supervisor told him to leave and warm up. When he got to his vehicle, he said he was checking out when his lips started to “turn blue, purplish. Then I started to shake.
A colleague told him to leave and he returned to the detachment to warm up and change, eventually staying on duty.
“I was not injured. I was fine, ”he noted. I was back on the road.
Although he’s not used to the attention, Gonpo said he “just did what I’m supposed to do.”
“There was no need to think twice, I guess. My partners would have done the same, no doubt.
Sgt. Brad Essex said police were “incredibly grateful” to citizens who immediately called emergency services and provided “invaluable assistance” to police and first responders.
“The heroic actions of Cst. Gonpo speaks volumes about one of the many ways police officers put their lives in danger every day without hesitation to ensure public safety, ”Essex said in the statement.
Gonpo said he had tried contacting the couple twice now, but still had no luck. But he plans to keep trying.