Thursday, May 05, 2005

Tugboat Crew Rescue Swimmer Who Turns Out To Be Wanted

Two tugboat operators rescued a man from the Fraser River near Barnston Island, then discovered he was a fleeing robbery suspect. Capt. John Mackenzie and his deck hand, Marshall Pringle, were attaching a load of logs to their tug when another captain alerted them to a swimmer caught in the fast-moving current of the Fraser late last week. "He was barely staying afloat," Mackenzie said yesterday. The two men brought the boat alongside the struggling swimmer and pulled him from the water. According to Pringle, that's when things got a little "fishy." The man offered Mackenzie $100 to take him to Barnston. The 23-year-old captain agreed, but had only gone a little way when the dispatcher called to warn him not to pick up a dangerous man. "He was standing right beside me," Mackenzie recalled. "He heard the call and then ran past me and jumped off the boat again." Mackenzie and Pringle pulled the man from the water a second time. Two Surrey RCMP officers in a deputized fishing boat soon arrived. The 44-year-old suspect allegedly stole a cash register at a market on 96th Avenue in Surrey. The store's manager said a knife-wielding man entered the store and left with the register, then took off in grey Chrysler Dynasty. Police traced the man to the Barnston ferry terminal, where the cash register was found in a ditch.

Fraser River Tugboat

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