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Miramichi couple thankful to be alive after snowmobiles sink in river

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Tom King had travelled the Miramichi River on his snowmobile countless times before. So he and his wife, Darcie Stewart-King, didn’t think much of making a journey up the river on Friday night.

The conditions looked good. There had been a few cold days and they were following the tracks of someone who had done it recently.

Now they are thankful to be alive after both plunged through the river surface in an icy dunking.

« Just as we’re heading up we got to an area and I looked and didn’t like the way it was looking, » King said. « And I veered over and the next thing my sled was bogging and bogging and it was going out from underneath me because it was floating. It actually dropped way below — gone. »

Snowmobile was submerged

King was in the water, surrounded by ice, with his snowmobile submerged.

« I was trying to get over to the ice and trying to get up onto the ice, » he said. « And it was breaking away from me and all I could do was kick in and think, ‘I got to get out of here.' »

He thought Darcie was safe, but worried she would try to come to his rescue. « So I was worried for her. And I was worried for our children. »

King harnessed a final burst of energy and pulled himself out of the water and onto the ice. He pulled off his helmet and gloves and started calling for his wife. He hoped that she had veered off and that she wasn’t in the water.

« I looked around and I couldn’t see Darcie. I couldn’t see any light so then I started calling her name. »

He called her name four or five times before she answered. She was about 90 metres behind him, stuck in the water. He tried to dial 911 but his phone, either because of the water or the cold, wouldn’t work.

« So I was crawling out to her and and she kept saying, ‘Don’t come any closer. Don’t come any closer, our daughter needs one parent — at least there’s one of us,’ because up until this point, she thought I was dead. »

Stewart-King was able to get her arms onto the ice. When her husband got a little closer, she threw her phone to him.

Soon heard sirens

« I couldn’t access her phone because my fingers were so cold that I couldn’t access her code, but I was able to hit the emergency button and call 911. »

Soon, King said they started to hear sirens. Then, on the Chatham Head side of the Morrissy Bridge, they saw a light.

« The light started to get closer and then we just said, ‘No, don’t come closer, just get help.’ And when the light got closer she said, ‘I am the help.' »

Const. Julie O’Donnell had been in the area and arrived before the rest of the first responders.

« She’s a little smaller frame than I am … and she was able to get a hold of Darcie’s arms. And then I was able to get a hold of her and, between the two of us, we were able to pull Darcie out of the water. »

Police officers, firefighters and paramedics soon arrived and the couple was taken to hospital. Stewart-King was kept overnight as her core temperature was low. Now they’ve both been released.

King isn’t sure what exactly went wrong.

« Traditionally, there’s fast water underneath the Morrissy Bridge and maybe it was fast water that didn’t freeze. I was following another track going up, So and then I saw where things changed. The ice may have cracked, there could’ve been a high tide — anything could have happened, »

Conditions hard to predict

Scott Ralston, president of the New Brunswick Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, said this winter it has been particularly difficult to predict what conditions will be like off the trails.

« This year certainly has been a little different because we’ve had a couple of thaws and there’s been some some high water late in December and it certainly affects the safety of river crossings, » he said. « And, some areas of the province, actually the ice broke up and started to flow. So it certainly kind of plays havoc. »

Ralston said drivers should stick to the trails and marked crossings to ensure their safety.

What happened Friday night hasn’t affected King’s love for the sport. He said he would get on a snowmobile today if he had one.

« We just happened to be in a snowmobile accident — our lives didn’t end, they very well easily could have. But they didn’t. So life has to go on. »



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Anglais

A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Anglais

Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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Anglais

9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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