Sara Picard, 16, intervened to assist a woman during an incident on Thursday, Nov. 14, in Parksville. (Facebook photo)

Man, 50, dies following incident in downtown Parksville

Teenage girl hailed as hero for intervening after witnessing situation unfold

Oceanside RCMP say a man involved in an incident Thursday in downtown Parksville has died, and are praising the bravery of a young woman who came upon the scene.

Police were called to the scene of a disturbance on Bay Street at approximately 2:45 p.m.

Police say the 50-year-old was suffering from serious injuries and unresponsive when they arrived. Frontline officers performed CPR on the male, who was then taken to hospital by air ambulance.

“Through investigation it was determined that the injuries received by this male were self-inflicted,” said Cpl. Jesse Foreman, operational support NCO for the Oceanside RCMP.

“It is not common for the RCMP to discuss specific circumstances in these events, however this disturbance happened in a busy area with many witnesses who may not be aware of the totality of the situation.”

READ MORE: Car crashes on Northwest Bay Road in Nanoose Bay

Kwalikum Secondary student Sara Picard was in the area when she said she witnessed an incident involving a man and a woman.

The 16-year-old said she saw the man trying to get the woman into a vehicle.

“I was across the field, probably about five feet away, six feet. I saw this man trying to get this woman into a [van]… He opened his van door and he was trying to get her to get in there,” said Picard.

The teen said she ran up and pulled the man off the woman, when the man pulled out a knife and told her to back up.

Picard said she backed away slightly and called police, and the man then stabbed himself.

“It was really awful,” said Picard. “I was very close.”

Picard said she comforted the woman once police arrived. The student said she’s never been in an emergency situation like this before, but she felt no hesitation in intervening.

RCMP say the young woman’s actions were brave.

“She’s a hero,” said Foreman.

READ MORE: RCMP looking for missing 26-year-old woman, last seen in Parksville

Picard called her mother, Leia Swanberg, who took her immediately to the Oceanside Health Centre.

“We went to the Oceanside medical clinic just to make sure that Sara had immediate support. Although she’s brave, she is a kid. We wanted to make sure she had some support available,” said Swanberg.

Swanberg fought back tears as she spoke about her daughter.

“She’s just that kid. Like, she’s brave, and she wants to go into social justice, and be a social worker. She volunteers at the soup kitchen and she genuinely cares about people,” said Swanberg.

emily.vance@pqbnews.com

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A man was airlifted to hospital from Parksville Community Park by BC Ambulance Service on Thursday, Nov. 14. (Emily Vance photo)

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