The body of a missing Montreal firefighter has been recovered from the St. Lawrence River

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A Montreal firefighter went under water Sunday night, assisting a boat in distress, and he has been taken out of the water with a trapped boat.

Montreal fire chief Richard Liebman confirmed Monday morning that search and rescue crews were among the remains of a boat that sank missing firefighters with a camera on the St. Lawrence River.

Firefighters went under the waters of the St. Lawrence River in Montreal on Sunday, rescuing those who were in distress.

Crews used the camera to confirm they were trapped under a fire boat, and fire chiefs later said it would take some time for them to recover in dangerous and fast-moving Lapin Rapids.

A number of emergency services have been mobilized to locate firefighters. La Prairie, Longueuil, Warrenness and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu firefighters teams work with their Montreal counterparts, the Montreal Police Department (SPVM) and the Canadian Armed Forces Rescue Team.

Helicopter searches should be conducted in the night, on the river and on the shore.

The rescue boat sank while the crew was helping the boat. Firefighters went under the water, and then spotted the camera trapped under the boat’s remains.

According to information dispatched overnight from Sûreté du Québec (SQ), a boat carrying four Montreal firefighters went to rescue two people in another distressed boat in LaSalle Borough, Lausanne Borough, at 7:10 pm Sunday.

Two people were rescued, but for some reason, the firefighters boarded the boat.

“So the people they rescued, they went into the water with firefighters,” Longfeil Fire Chief Stefan DiFruskia said Sunday night. “But now, with the exception of one firefighter, all those people are numbered.”

Three of them were rescued and transported to hospital, as were the two victims.

A reminder of the culture

There was an outpouring of support throughout the province after news of a member of the emergency services falling into the line of duty.

Montreal mayoral candidate Valerie Plante said it was a sad reminder that first responders are risking their lives in defense of the community.

“As the search progresses, I thank SPVM, and, SQ, Canadian forces and the Montreal Firefighters who are participating in the operation,” he wrote on Twitter.

Plante’s opponent Denis Cordere added his condolences in the upcoming election.

“Very sad Monday morning,” he wrote. “I offer my sincere condolences to their family, their relatives and their colleagues who have risked their lives for our security.”

The rapid can die

Corran Addison is an Olympic kayaker and six-time world champion who moved to Montreal in 1997, mainly because of Lachin Rapids. He watched the rescue operation from his kitchen and thought, “Oh no. No more.”

The Addison kayaks are a regular snap and he even takes his seven-year-old son with him. He knows that if the person is unfamiliar he can be very dangerous.

“I know rapids back and forth and inside, so when you know them, they’re not particularly dangerous,” he said. “If you don’t know rapids, you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know what to do, you don’t know how to stay calm when something goes out of control, then they are very dangerous and in fact they are deadly. Lachine rapids kill many people every year.

Addison said the respondents had seen a change in the way they moved to Rapids, which related to him, as well as a loss of knowledge about the area’s water.

“There’s a lot of knowledge in the rescue,” he said. “I’m not saying that knowledge is gone, but it seems to be less prevalent.”

– with files from the Canadian Press.

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