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HomeCanadian NewsCoroner's inquiry begins into dying of Montreal firefighter throughout water rescue

Coroner’s inquiry begins into dying of Montreal firefighter throughout water rescue

Lacroix died after changing into trapped underneath a HammerHead rescue boat that capsized within the Lachine Rapids

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JOLIETTE — A coroner’s inquest into the drowning of Montreal firefighter Pierre Lacroix heard on Monday that the 2 individuals he tried to rescue within the St. Lawrence River had little boating expertise.

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Lacroix, 58, perished after he grew to become trapped underneath a HammerHead rescue boat that capsized within the Lachine Rapids as he and three colleagues tried to avoid wasting two boaters in misery on Oct. 17, 2021.

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Tommy Yi informed the inquest Monday that he had lately bought a ship and had wished to take it out for a spin with a pal. Yi and his pal Ana Dicu weren’t skilled boaters, though each mentioned they earned their pleasure craft operator playing cards as youngsters a decade earlier.

Not lengthy after going out on the water, the boat’s motor overheated, forcing them to name 911 as darkness set in. Yi tried to drop an anchor a couple of occasions however was unsuccessful, and his boat drifted towards the rapids. 4 Montreal firefighters, together with Lacroix, arrived and tried to safe the stalled boat.

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“We’re going to capsize, we’re going to capsize,” Yi informed the inquest, recounting what he had informed the firefighters. He then broke down on the witness stand.

Then, he mentioned, the firefighters’ boat started drifting away and capsized.

He informed the inquest he managed to briefly get his boat’s motor working and heard the firefighters yell, “Assist! Assist!” He mentioned he helped two firefighters onto his boat earlier than its engine minimize out. One of many firefighters aboard was unconscious.

Yi mentioned one other rescue boat arrived, including that he helped steer that boat towards a 3rd firefighter within the water. He mentioned there was no signal of Lacroix.

For her half, Dicu mentioned she and Yi weren’t positive whether or not to name 911. She mentioned she didn’t know in regards to the hazard within the space. “I didn’t even know there have been rapids,” she testified.

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Dicu inadvertently recorded among the incident whereas she tried to make use of her cellphone flashlight. She mentioned she confirmed the video to a firefighter after she was taken to shore. When she recovered the cellphone, she seen somebody had tried to ahead the video to considered one of Lacroix’s daughters.

Within the hours that adopted her rescue, her video was leaked to the media.

Lacroix, a father of two, was recovered from the water the next day after Montreal police used an underwater digital camera to look underneath the firefighters’ boat.

Stephanie Lacroix, the deceased firefighter’s eldest daughter, represented his household on the inquest. She requested questions of Yi throughout his testimony and took the witness stand herself. She thanked him for having the braveness to testify and for going again to assist the firefighters within the water.

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Lacroix testified later within the day, telling the inquest that she had skilled lots of anger since her father’s dying. Celebrating her twenty sixth birthday on Monday, she mentioned it’s nonetheless arduous to speak about her father up to now tense.

She described her dad as a person of few phrases however whose actions and generosity spoke for themselves. “My father was my position mannequin — my hero,” Lacroix mentioned.

In October, Quebec’s office well being and security board issued a report stating that the rescue boat utilized by the firefighters was not designed to function in that a part of the rapids. Earlier this month, the union representing Montreal firefighters known as for all nautical rescues to be suspended till corrective measures are taken to make sure the protection of its members.

Coroner Géhane Kamel is presiding over the hearings which can be scheduled to final two weeks and are being held on the courthouse in Joliette, about 75 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

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