A car teeters on the edge of going into the river off Quamichan Road in Duncan early Thursday morning. Occupants of the vehicle were lucky, said firefighters who attended the scene. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

UPDATE: Car, passengers, narrowly escape going into Cowichan River Thursday morning

Vehicle teetered on river's edge but amazed firefighters by remaining on land.

A middle of the night call-out saw North Cowichan firefighters and RCMP officers dealing with a car that was teetering on the side of the river by Quamichan Road.

It all happened about 1:45 a.m., Dec. 7, when a car had gone off road, rolled to the river’s edge and ended up on its passenger side with one of the two occupants trapped inside.

When officers arrived, they observed the passenger side hanging over the raging river and the bank falling apart under the vehicle.

A woman was still inside and unable to extricate herself.

Due to the imminent danger of the vehicle falling in the river, officers had to act prior to arrival of the fire department. Officers used ropes and garden hoses from nearby residences and attempted to secure the precarious vehicle to a police vehicle.

The police then used physical strength to attempt to stabilize the motion of the vehicle, allowing other officers to open a door and physically remove the woman.

A 43-year-old man who lived nearby was found to have been driving the vehicle and had removed himself from the vehicle prior to the arrival of the police.

The driver has been charged with driving without a licence and driving without insurance.

He also received a licence suspension for drinking and driving and the vehicle was seized.

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP want to remind people how dangerous drinking and driving can be.

Efforts will be made to have more enforcement in relation to impaired driving over the holiday season.

“In this case, due to the quick and decisive actions by a group of officers, lives were saved and were not added to Provincial Impaired Driving fatality statistics,” Sgt. Chris Swain said.

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