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Off-duty deputy chief rescues man pitched from Sea-Doo on Lake Simcoe

She helped avert what could have been a tragic outcome
2018-06-22 Lt Gov 13 RB
South Simcoe Deputy Police Chief Robin McElary-Downer, who is also an aide-de-comp for Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, listens to a speaker during Friday's christening ceremony for the police department's new boat. Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

INNISFIL - When Deputy Chief Robin McElary-Downer took a leisurely boat ride last Sunday, the last thing she expected to do was to perform a rescue.

Just back from an out-of-town vacation, Deputy McElary-Downer took advantage of the nice weather to enjoy Lake Simcoe on the last day of summer.  As she cruised along, she noticed a Sea-Doo operator attempting to paddle to no avail due to the high winds and waves. Then, she saw something nearby and realized it was a man bobbing in the water yelling for help.

The pair had been separated when the operator of the Sea-Doo was pitched from his vessel taking the ignition key-fob with him. The deputy closed in on the man in the water, reached out with an extended pole and pulled him toward her water craft. He managed to climb aboard and she transported him back to the stranded Sea-Doo. No one was injured.

Kudos to our deputy chief for stepping up and averting what could have been a tragic outcome. Be it on-duty or off-duty, our commitment to community safety doesn't take a day off.