'She’s choking and can't breathe': Mountie credited with saving child on Vancouver Island highway

An off-duty Mountie is being credited with saving the life of a 17-month-old girl on the side of a northern Vancouver Island highway.

The incident happened shortly after noon on Aug. 30 on Highway 19 between Woss, B.C. and Sayward, B.C.

Const. Denise Laforest, who is on extended leave from the RCMP, was driving to Alert Bay, B.C. with her two small children when she saw a vehicle pull over quickly to the side of the road, according to a release Thursday from the RCMP.

A man jumped out of the car in a state of panic, holding a limp toddler.

The Mountie pulled a U-turn and drove back to where the man had pulled over.

“I told him I know first aid and that I can help,” Laforest said in the release. “At that point, he basically threw the baby at me and said she’s choking and can’t breathe.”

She told the man to call 911 and started trying to dislodge whatever the child was choking on. The girl’s weak pulse faded and could no longer be found, according to the RCMP.

The Mountie began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions until the child started wheezing.

Laforest cleared debris from the girl's mouth and the child suddenly began to cry, according to police.

The girl’s father was unable to contact a 911 operator due to lack of cell coverage, according to police.

The child was taken to a clinic in Woss and then to hospital in Campbell River where she remained until she was discharged in good health later that evening.

Mounties say the child’s parents plan to enroll in a first-aid course.

Laforest had recently completed a first-aid refresher course, according to the RCMP.

“If it wasn’t for that, my training may not have kicked in and we could have been looking at a very different outcome,” Laforest said.