Taking the plunge — local magician to attempt underwater polar bear dive escape

Roger Boucher trains for his February underwater escape on January 11 in Prince Albert. Photo courtesy Roger Boucher.

A local magician and hypnotist is training for his biggest stunt yet.

Roger Boucher is preparing for an underwater polar bear dip escape as a part of a fundraiser for the Lakeland Fire Department.

Boucher’s escape will see him handcuffed and wrapped in chains before jumping into a seven foot by 14-foot hole in the ice and escaping from freezing-cold, 10-foot deep water at Murray Point.

It’s an escape he’s been talking about with the fire department since last March.

The escape will be supervised by a trained dive team and first responders from the Lakeland Fire Department will be on hand should anything go wrong.

“There’s some danger to it, definitely,” Boucher said.

“Any time you’re jumping into water chained, there’s always the element of danger. It’s going to be something a little bit outside of my regular show.”

Boucher has done straightjacket escapes before, but never anything underwater. He’s training hard to make sure he’s ready for the escape. He’s been filling his tub with water and snow and seeing how long he can hold his breath. He’s also been working on holding his breath on land and practicing the escape on land. The next step is practicing the escape in swimming pools so he can learn how it feels to do it underwater.

“I’m going to work to get rid of nervousness because nervousness increases your heart rate, which forces you to use more oxygen. I want to be able to hold my breath for as long as I need to,” Boucher said.

“There is going to be safety in place (the day of) as well as straight out practice.”

Boucher got a taste of what it might feel like to escape in the cold Friday when he practiced the stunt outside in -17 C weather. He says the escape takes him about a minute.

“I’ll be under there for a sizeable amount of time.”

The escape, fish derby and polar bear dive are set for February 16 at Murray Point in Emma Lake.  The fish derby runs from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and the escape is set for 3:30.

Boucher and other participants will be collecting pledges to raise money for the fire department. More information is available on the event’s Facebook page.

This is a corrected story. The original version of the story indicated paramedics from the fire department would be on hand. In Fact, first responders will be on hand. Paramedics are regulated under the Saskatchewan College of Paramedics and denote a specific level of out of hospital health care provider higher than that of a first responder. The Herald regrets the error.