Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Improper training, inadequate boat led to drowning death of Montreal firefighter during rescue: report

By The Canadian Press   

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Oct. 7, 2022, Quebec – Quebec’s workplace health and safety board says a fire department boat that capsized during a rescue effort last year in rapids off Montreal, killing one firefighter, was not designed to be in that part of the St. Lawrence River.

The report made public today into the Oct. 17 accident identified three principal factors that led to the death of firefighter Pierre Lacroix.

Lacroix, a married father of two, died after becoming trapped beneath the rescue boat while coming to the aid of two boaters in distress.

The workplace safety board says the rushing waters in the section of the Lachine Rapids where the firefighters intervened exceeded the rescue boat’s capacities.

Their boat capsized due to a combination of the distribution of weight of the firefighters, large waves that engulfed the boat and its positioning in the trough of a wave during the approach.

Investigators also found the crew aboard the rescue craft and responders at a riverside command post lacked adequate training, exposing firefighters to the danger of drowning during a rescue operation in an unmarked area of ??the rapids.

Separately, a coroner’s inquiry into Lacroix’s death will begin in late November.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2022.

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