Rafters on the Elbow River were witnesses to a strange sight Sunday afternoon — a car being slowly winched up the steep riverbank.
"Initially it seems like a simple call, just a suspicious car down by the river," said Const. Chris Martin.
"It ended up being an extensive response from both Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department, AHS, EMS and then some private contractors," Martin said, adding that the total response was expected to take about nine hours.
Police received a call at 8:15 a.m. about the vehicle at the bottom of a cliff, on the east side of Sandy Beach Park near the southwest Calgary community of Altadore.
Martin said nobody was found inside the car, but the car was reported stolen and what's believed to be drugs (likely either cocaine or powdered fentanyl) were spilled inside.
"Whether it was driven over, pushed over, or left running in gear and drove itself over, those details we have yet to determine," he said.
It's believed the car went over the side of the cliff overnight, possibly around 3:30 a.m., Martin said.
Martin said police worked with the fire department's high-angle rescue team, as well as a team out on the water, to make sure no fluids leaked into the river and that members of the public were safe as the car was removed.
He chronicled the extraction on Twitter, sharing photos and videos of progress throughout the day. He said in his more than eight years with CPS, he'd never seen anything like it.
Anyone with information is asked to call the police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.