Death of firefighter Pierre Lacroix: the owner of the boat in distress testifies
< p class="styled__StyledLegend-sc-v64krj-0 cfqhYM">The father of the family was trapped under a boat that had capsized during a rescue operation.
The two boaters who ventured into the Lachine Rapids and who had to resort to emergency services to pick them up had little navigation experience, we learned Monday during the first day of hearings for the inquest into the death of firefighter Pierre Lacroix, who died during the rescue operation.
Firefighter Lacroix, 58 years old , became trapped under a capsized lifeboat when he and three of his colleagues went into the rapids to assist the two boaters in distress, October 17, 2021.
On Monday, the owner of the boat who ended up in distress in the rapids, Tommy Yi, testified before coroner Géhane Kamel that he had recently bought the boat and that he wanted to go for a turn to try it out with a friend.
He admitted, however, that neither he nor his passenger, Ana Dicu, had any nautical experience. Both still held their pleasure craft licenses, which they had obtained more than 10 years earlier.
Shortly after the start of their escapade on the river, the engine of their boat overheated and would not start. Mr. Yi tried a few times to drop anchor, but the boat never stopped and he began to drift down the rapids. Four Montreal firefighters, including Pierre Lacroix, therefore intervened to rescue them.
We're going to capsize! We're going to capsize! cried Mr. Yi on Monday, echoing what happened on the day of the accident. He then broke down on the witness stand.
Then he saw the fireboat drift away and then capsize. That's when he managed to briefly restart his boat's engine and heard the firefighters shout Help! Help!.
Mr. Yi then helped two firefighters onto his boat before the engine stopped again. One of the firefighters on board was unconscious.
Another lifeboat arrived on the scene, and Mr. Yi helped it navigate to a third firefighter in the water. He mentioned that he never saw firefighter Lacroix.
During her testimony, Ms. Dacu on the other hand indicated that she and her friend had hesitated before calling 911. At the time, I was unaware of the danger. I didn't even know there were rapids, she argued.
Ms. Dacu also accidentally recorded part of the rescue while trying to use the flashlight function of her cell phone. When she returned to the mainland, she showed the video to a firefighter.
But when she was able to retrieve her cell phone, she noticed that someone& #x27;one had attempted to send the video to one of Mr. Lacroix's daughters.
Within hours, his video ended up in the media.
Mr. Lacroix's body was recovered the next day when police used an underwater camera. marine to inspect the underside of the fireboat.
Stephanie Lacroix, the eldest daughter of the deceased firefighter, represented her family at Monday's hearing. She asked Mr. Yi questions during his testimony and spoke on the witness stand herself. She thanked him for having the courage to testify and for returning to help the firefighters in the water.
Ms. Lacroix testified later that day and admitted to feeling a lot of anger since his father's death. She, whose 26th birthday was on Monday, admitted that it was still difficult for her to talk about her father in the past tense.
She described her father as a man of few words, but whose actions and generosity spoke for themselves. My father was my model, my hero, before being that of others, she underlined.
In October, the Standards, Fairness, Occupational Health and Safety Commission released a report that the fire boat did not; should never have gone so far into the Lachine Rapids area, due to the limitations of the boat.
Coroner Kamel is presiding over the hearings which are scheduled to last two Joliette.