New Brunswick man flees police by riding a block of ice down a river

Man standing on ice floe as it floats downriver Photo by Nicolas Pelletier

Getaway vehicles come all sorts of shapes and sizes, but last Thursday a New Brunswick man took things to the next level when he fled the scene of a crime by riding away on a chunk of ice.

The Moncton man, now identified and Mike Delahunt, was was seen floating down the Petitcodiac River on a block of ice in the early morning. Authorities were called, and soon about 30 firefighters from surrounding areas showed up to stage a rescue mission. However, Delahunt seemed reluctant to be rescued.

The would-be rescuers threw him rope and flotation devices, but Delahunt was unwilling to take them. The coast guard and a military search and rescue team were called in, but in the end, the man got off the ice floe himself by stepping onto a snowbank when the ice floe floated near the shore. Police picked him up soon after.

Initially, there was confusion as to why the man had been floating out on the river at all, and he was taken to the hospital to be treated for hypothermia.

Officials were baffled, and tried to give media their best account of what had happened. “He was on a large chunk of ice floating with the current,” Marc Cormier, division chief of the Dieppe Fire Department told the CBC. “He’s very lucky to still be with us.”

As it turned out, this wasn’t Delahunt’s first unusual brush with the law. He had been arrested in the past for using public parks as a golf course. However, his charges this time were less funny: assault, uttering threats, and damaging property.

Staff Sgt. Mario Fortin said that police knew there was a crime suspect in the area, but that their first priority upon seeing the trapped man was getting him safely to shore. “”[Our] primary responsibility or duty is to make sure the person is sound and safe on the shore, not drowning in the river,” Fortin told the CBC.

Fortin said that the man had apparently decided to use the ice floe as a means of “slow speed escape.” However, it clearly wasn’t a very well-thought-out plan.

“I don’t think he realized by going on that chunk of ice that it would go that long before reaching ashore.”

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