The Southeast District RCMP Staff Sergeant Major braved frigid waters to rescue a driver from a submerged vehicle

B.C. Southeast District, Vernon North Okanagan, B.C., This Is Who We Are

2020-01-30 19:00 PST

File # 2020-1406

RCMP Staff Sergeant Major (SSM) Robert Daly

View larger image: Photograph of Staff Sergeant Major Robert Daly

As a RCMP Staff Sergeant Major (SSM) Robert Daly typically provides recognition to police officers and civilians alike, during formal awards ceremonies, for their acts of heroism and valour in dynamic often life changing situations. While off-duty SSM Daly didn’t think twice before he jumped into action after he witnessed a passenger vehicle over turn into a creek in the north end of Vernon late Friday evening.

On January 24, 2020 at approximately 10:40 p.m., SSM Robb Daly was travelling through the Vernon area with a family member, when he witnessed a motor vehicle suddenly leave the highway and out of sight. The off-duty Warrant Officer, who had been travelling in the opposite direction when the collision unfolded, pulled his vehicle safely to the side of the road and crossed all lanes of the divided highway on foot in order to reach the crash site. His daughter immediately called 911 for help.

The passenger sedan was discovered overturned and mostly submerged in the waters of the approx. 20 foot wide creek that runs alongside the west side of Highway 97 north of 48 Avenue. Without hesitation, the off-duty officer jumped into the frigid cold waters and began efforts to access the driver in the pitch dark and assess whether or not there were any additional passengers trapped inside.

The slight current of the creek and the sediment made it challenging for SSM Daly to open the driver’s side door. Once opened numerous attempts were made to release the driver, who had been seat belted in. The first emergency responders to reach the scene tossed SSM Daly a pair of scissors, which allowed him to extricate the driver from his vehicle and bring his head above the water’s surface.

Members of the Vernon Fire Department worked together with SSM Daly to pull the unresponsive 37-year-old Vernon man from the water, where they began life saving measures. BC Emergency Health Services rushed him to an area hospital in serious condition. No other passengers were located inside the vehicle. Aside from prolonged exposure to the cold water, SSM Robb Daly was uninjured.

It was with profound sadness that the RCMP learned that the driver has since succumbed to his injuries in hospital, states Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesperson for the RCMP Southeast District. We, the RCMP, wish to extend our deepest condolences to the man’s loved ones.

Staff Sergeant Major Daly is an invaluable member of the Southeast District senior executive team, states the District Commander of the RCMP Southeast District, Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli. The emotional impacts from that day are still fresh for both Robb and his daughter who tried to save a life. We will continue to provide them ongoing support. Their combined efforts were truly heroic.

Released by

Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey

District Advisory NCO (Media Relations)
Southeast District
170-395 Penno Road Kelowna, BC V1X 7W5
Office: 250-491-4317
Cell: 250-869-9578
Fax: 250-491-2381


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