Brav­ery in an icy river

Waipa Post - - News -

Se­nior Con­sta­ble Scott Qu­ate said he didn’t think twice be­fore jump­ing in to a freez­ing, fast-flow­ing river to try and save two peo­ple while off duty in Cam­bridge.

The officer was last week pre­sented with the Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion’s Brav­ery Award at its an­nual con­fer­ence in Welling­ton.

On Au­gust 19, 2017, Scott was driv­ing with his part­ner and baby to Cam­bridge, when traf­fic came to a stand­still on the Fer­gus­son Bridge span­ning the Waikato River.

A car had crashed through the bar­rier and into the fast-flow­ing river.

Scott, from Napier, was due to meet his brother for cof­fee when he stopped his car, ran down the bank and made a dar­ing res­cue.

A man was scream­ing for help in the wa­ter, while an unconscious woman was float­ing face up.

Scott was off-duty but said he didn’t hes­i­tate to scram­ble down a 10m slope fully clothed and wade in to the deep, freez­ing wa­ter.

“It was just a case of getting across the other side and down the bank and in as fast as I could.

“Lucky there was a branch nearby I could cling to at the same time and just hold ev­ery­one afloat until some­one threw a rope to us.”

Scott worked to keep him­self and the unconscious woman clear of the wa­ter while try­ing to calm the man, who was be­com­ing fa­tigued and dis­tressed.

A tow rope from a truck was low­ered to the trio by mem­bers of the pub­lic, and emer­gency ser­vices helped drag them to shal­low wa­ter. Scott im­me­di­ately be­gan giv­ing the woman CPR and suc­ceeded in clear­ing wa­ter from her lungs. She was taken to hos­pi­tal but died two days later.

Scott’s part­ner and tod­dler were wait­ing nearby and were relieved when he was safely back on land, ex­hausted and freez­ing but mostly un­harmed, ex­cept for a bruised and rope-burned arm.

The po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion team said the res­cued man, in his mid 60s, would al­most cer­tainly have died in the freez­ing and tur­bu­lent wa­ters if it was not for the po­lice officer’s ac­tions.

Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Chris Cahill said he was tremen­dously proud to be as­so­ci­ated with the officer who per­formed so out­stand­ingly.

“Such val­our and de­ter­mi­na­tion, done without thought for his own safety, is why Scott is the re­cip­i­ent of this year’s Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion Brav­ery Award.”

Photo / War­ren Buck­land

Off-duty po­lice­man Scott Qu­ate was pre­sented with the Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion’s Brav­ery Award for res­cu­ing a man and woman from a ve­hi­cle that plunged into the Waikato River in Cam­bridge last year.

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