'We were very lucky': Man rescued from ice floe in Petitcodiac River
A man who became stranded on a piece of ice floating in New Brunswick’s Petitcodiac River has been rescued.
Police and emergency crews responded to the scene in Dieppe, N.B. shortly after 7 a.m. Thursday after the man was spotted by a member of the public.
Marc Cormier, the district chief of the Dieppe Fire Department, said attempts were made to reach the man at two bridges in the area, but those efforts were unsuccessful.
“We threw ropes and equipment for him to float on, but he refused them,” says Cormier. "We had six teams strategically located along the riverbanks so once he was passing one location we had teams waiting for him down the river.”
More than 30 members of three different fire departments were called to the scene, along with the Canadian Coast Guard, a helicopter from Halifax, and an airplane from Newfoundland and Labrador.
“It's the first time that we experienced somebody who does not want to get help initially, so we were very lucky that he eventually got tired and wanted some help,” says Cormier.
The fire department’s water rescue craft was on site, but not used.
“There's a large ice shelf, a precipice at the edge of the river, so it was difficult for us to find a launch point for the boat. In the end we were unsuccessful in getting the boat in the water,” Chief Marc Cormier of the Dieppe Fire Department.
The man was taken to hospital with hypothermia and upper body injuries. He was able to make it to solid ground on his own.
“The ice came aground at a certain part in the river and when it did he was able to get to shore, then he was able to negotiate the ice cliff that was there and made his way onto the marsh,” says Cormier.
This was such a unique incident that fire officials from all three local services had an interagency debriefing early Thursday afternoon.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis.