Canada

Coroner’s inquest hears of search for Montreal firefighter whose rescue boat capsized

JOLIETTE – A coroner’s inquest into the 2021 drowning of Montreal firefighter Pierre Lacroix is hearing about the frantic search for him after his boat capsized in the Lachine Rapids during a rescue attempt.

But Lt. Sylvain Dominique of the Montreal fire department testified today that despite an extensive effort from the water, shore and air, rescuers did not look under the capsized HammerHead boat in the initial hours after the accident.

Lacroix and three of his colleagues were trying to save two boaters in distress when the firefighters’ vessel capsized in the waves of the St. Lawrence River on Oct. 17, 2021. The other three firefighters survived.

Dominique, who was working at a command post from shore, told the inquest that the capsized fire boat was located within an hour of the accident but was stuck at the bottom of the river and couldn’t immediately be flipped over.

He says he directed search teams to ignore the boat and instead focus on searching the open water for Lacroix because he believed the firefighter was likely already dead if he was trapped beneath it.

It was only at about 3 a.m. — some seven and a half hours after the accident — that a Montreal police underwater camera determined that Lacroix’s body was pinned beneath the capsized boat.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2022.

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