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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First Nations mother thankful for support after woman hurled racist remarks at her on Edmonton bus – Edmonton

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A First Nations mother is offering thanks after a woman was told to leave an ETS bus for hurling racism at her and a pregnant friend on Thursday night.

Dalen Cardinal takes the bus to go to school every day.

Coverage of racism against First Nations people on Globalnews.ca:


The new mother was on the 4 West Edmonton Mall with a friend when a woman wearing a white jacket boarded the bus at Bonnie Doon Mall.

Cardinal said the woman started attacking them verbally.

“She started to antagonize my eight-months-pregnant friend. She was calling her fat — a fat Indian. Saying we belong at the shelter because we’re no good for nothing Indians. Stereotyping us – saying we live off the government and at least she didn’t get pregnant young.”

The woman ignored Cardinal’s requests to stop, so she started recording her behaviour.

READ MORE: First Nations women call for Quebec inquiry into systemic racism

“At least I didn’t get knocked up,” the woman said in the video.

“Well that’s sad for you. I’m really happy,” Cardinal responded.

That’s when a passenger came to the friends’ aid.

“It’s none of your *** business who supports who,” the other passenger said.

The situation appeared to escalate when the ETS bus driver stepped in.

“If you’re going to talk like that you need to get off this bus,” he told the woman in the white jacket.

But she was relentless, continuing to make remarks.

At the next stop, the Chapters on Whyte Avenue, the bus driver left his seat and approached her.

“You know what? You can go wait for another bus,” he said calmly.

READ MORE: First Nations family says fishermen shouted racial slurs, exposed themselves on Fraser River

The woman in the white jacket could be seen standing up and walking toward the back doors, but not before yelling back at the other passengers.

The video ended there.

It had been viewed nearly 150,000 times on Facebook as of Friday night.

Cardinal said she went home and burst into tears after the ordeal.

“I’m thankful the bus driver and the other elderly lady had stepped in, because I don’t know what would have happened if they weren’t there,” she said.

Her six-month-old son was with her in his stroller on the bus.

“It still really hurts my feelings. I’m really hurt that it happened to me and my son had to be there,” she said.

Cardinal didn’t go to school on Friday. She said she’s scared to take the bus again.

Zero tolerance

ETS spokesperson Rowan Anderson said the company does not tolerate racism — toward drivers or passengers.

“In a typical situation an operator would call for assistance and security resources would be dispatched and they would resolve the issue. But obviously in this case he felt his safety wasn’t in jeopardy and he wasn’t going to tolerate this behaviour any longer,” he said.

Drivers have recently been taking de-escalation training, and this one took matters into his own hands.

“We’re proud of our operator. He made a judgment call that he had heard enough and he gave the woman a fair warning,” Anderson said.

Cardinal felt the driver handled the situation in the best possible way.

“He really took into consideration that we’re human too and that shouldn’t be happening, not just to First Nations people — but to anybody.”

She would love an opportunity to reconnect with the driver and the other passenger who came to their aid.

“I wish I could thank them in person.”

As for the woman in the white jacket? Cardinal said she hopes she can become less spiteful in the future.

“I forgive her, for sure. But I really hope that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘So thankful’: SD card found on P.E.I. contains Sask. couple’s honeymoon in the Maritimes

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After losing a camera card full of photos of their honeymoon to the Maritimes more than two years ago, a couple in Saskatchewan will soon be able to relive their trip once again.

Heather Simonson, of Kerrobert, Sask., got married to her husband, James, in June of 2016 and the pair took to the Maritimes for a honeymoon of hiking, travelling and fine dining by the sea. 

After touring Nova Scotia, the couple skipped over to have a taste of Island life, taking photos along the way. But while in Summerside, they needed a new camera card to capture the last leg of their journey.

« We had picked up a new SD card at Walmart because our SD card became full, » Simonson said. So they popped out the old one and slotted in the fresh card.

And the old one?

« I asked my husband ‘Do you want me to hang onto that card?' » she laughed. « Because he’s known to be Mister Forgetful so he’s like ‘Oh no, I’ve got it.' »

‘I’m just so thankful that we’re gonna have these photos back,’ Simonson says. This is another photo from their they trip that wasn’t lost. (Submitted by Heather Simonson)

As it turned out, the card disappeared.

« We don’t exactly know how we lost it. We were staying in Summerside at the time when we realized we had lost it, » she said.

« We searched through our suitcases, we called the hotel we’d been staying at and we’d emptied out all our pockets and purses and we just searched high and low and couldn’t find it so we thought we’d lost it for good. »

Most of the lost photos were of their trip in Nova Scotia to Peggy’s Cove and around Cape Breton as well as a chunk of their P.E.I. trip to O’Leary, West Point, Summerside and around Prince County.

‘We were praying that we’d be able to find it’

Simonson said the pair was disappointed that the card was lost but thankful they at least had the photos from half their trip. They figured the card would be lost for good, but tried anything they could to get it back.

« We do believe in the power of prayer so we were praying that we’d be able to find it, or somehow it would get returned to us, » she said.

Most of the lost photos were of their trip in Nova Scotia as well as a chunk of their time on P.E.I. This is another photo they didn’t lose. (Submitted by Heather Simonson)

And it would be, as another visitor to the Island, from northern-eastern New Brunswick, found it.

Lucie Mallet, of Le Goulet, N.B., and her boyfriend were on P.E.I. shortly after Simonson was two years ago, she told CBC News in a French interview. 

She found the card while they were walking in the parking lot of a tourist spot, although she couldn’t remember which particular place. 

Mallet took the card home and put it in her computer. When she saw the photos of the young couple she knew they would want the photos back. So she took to Facebook, posting a photo of Simonson and her husband, saying she found it.

She had little hope, she said, but thought she’d give it a shot. Two years later it wound up working out.​

‘I started crying, I was pretty happy’

Just this week, after two years, Simonson thought she’d try once again to track down her lost photos, reaching out to several P.E.I. Facebook groups. 

Within the same day, a commentor on one of her posts helped track down Mallet’s Facebook post from two years prior — showing a picture of Simonson and her husband smiling.

« I started crying, I was pretty happy, » she said, seeing Mallet’s post of the newlyweds.

« She speaks French so we were only able to converse a little bit. »

We’re going to have to order in some lobster or something.— Heather Simonson

And now the family is having a « big celebration, » she said, as their SD card packed with honeymoon photos is on its way in the mail.

« We’re going to have to order in some lobster or something, » she laughed. « I’m just so thankful that we’re gonna have these photos back. It’s pretty special to have these back in our hands that’s for sure. »

In French, Mallet said by making Simonson happy, it made her happy.

Simonson said she wanted to return the favour somehow, but Mallet said she didn’t want anything because the true gift for her was seeing how happy she made the couple.

And Mallet hopes that if it ever happens to someone else, they do the same thing she did.

More P.E.I. news

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