Halifax trio honoured for rescuing woman on MacKay Bridge
Published Friday, July 13, 2018 10:22PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, July 13, 2018 10:34PM ADT
A special ceremony at Halifax’s Ummah Mosque honoured three members of the community for their quick and brave actions.
“Thank you for contributing to people you did not even know, and realize your contributions went well beyond that moment in time,” Halifax police chief Jean-Michel Blais told the three men.
Ibrahim Manna, Nashwan Ahmed, and Raed Abu Alhaj say they were just doing what they expect anyone would do in that situation.
The men were driving across the A. Murray MacKay Bridge on their way home from a weekend camping trip when they saw something unusual and didn't hesitate to take action.
“I was shocked when I see a woman who wanted to jump from the bridge,” said Abu Alhaj. He stopped suddenly and woke up everyone in the truck.
“When we saw that, we stopped the truck in traffic right away and the three of us ran out of the vehicle,” said Manna. “We ran to rescue her.”
Ibrahim and Raed tried to speak to the woman, while Nashwan came from the other side and held on to her.
“I told her ‘We are here to help, everything is going to be okay, just come back,’” said Abu Alhaj, who is originally from Jordan and moved to Halifax seven years ago. Manna, originally from Palestine via Jordan, moved to Halifax in 1995 and his Abu Alhaj’s brother-in-law. Ahmed just immigrated to Canada a year-and-a-half ago from Iraq.
The three men work in roofing and construction, and are comfortable with heights, but that didn't mean they felt safe in the situation.
“I just needed to help,” said Ahmed. “I don't think I need stuff, need harness, need rope, I don't know, I just needed to help,"
“We had to take action as quick as we can to save somebody's life,” said Manna. “And what we believe in, if you save one person's life, you save those whole of humanityand that's what we were thinking the whole time.”
Police arrived in minutes and took over the situation.
Blais says the men acted heroically.
“It’s very important to be able to recognize these men for what they’ve done, because this is part of community building,” Blais said. “This is what we call social capital, where people risk themselves in order to save another.”
The men say they are confident anyone would act in a similar way.
“We weren’t really thinking of anything else,” said Manna. “It was a scary moment, but at that time we were just focusing about how to save that lady.”
Abu Alhaj is glad he and his friends were recognized by the police and their community leaders.
“That will encourage other people to intervene and help in this kind of situation,” he said.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Allan April.