RAWDON, Que. – Dorwin Falls is a signature feature of the landscape in the town of Rawdon.
It is also an area that turns deadly all too often, as police discovered after a search lasting more than 12 hours.
“At 10:45 this morning we found the body of the person we were looking for, a young man in his 20s,” said Audrey-Anne Bilodeau, a spokesperson for the Surete du Quebec.
Search teams found the man’s body a few hundred meters from where he entered the Ouareau river.
The Surete du Quebec says the man went missing after jumping into the water to save a friend’s life shortly after 6:00 Sunday evening.
“They were picnicking or something like that,” said Bilodeau.
“There’s a woman. I don’t know if she went swimming, I don’t know if she fell in the water. But she was transported by the force of the water.”
A second woman jumped into the water in an attempt to save the man but was also carried away by the strong current.
While both women managed to climb out of the rapids, the river claimed the man’s life.
The women suffered serious injuries, but are expected to survive.
Police found the man in a few feet of water with a head wound.
“Unfortunately, while both women survived, he did not,” said Audrey-Anne Bilodeau with the SQ.
The man’s death has renewed calls by residents and visitors for added safety.
“It’s really dangerous,” said Omar Rostom, a visitor to the park.
“This park should be more secure, you know?”
Residents of Rawdon told Global News it seems like every year there’s another report of somebody drowning in this area.
“Last year there was a death – the bride,” said Ginette Duval, who lives nearby.
“Every year there’s more.”
In 2012, a bride was taking wedding photos near the falls before being pulled in by the current and drowning.
The woman’s family pleaded with the municipality to put in tighter security measures, a sentiment echoed by town residents.
City officials note that this particularly hazardous portion of the river is only designed as a lookout.
“It’s just a lookout,” said Bruno Jodouin of the Rawdon Fire Department.
“It’s not a place to go swimming.”
There are signs in the area that clearly warn of the dangers, but visitors continue to visit the site, lured by the breathtaking scenery.
Rawdon is about 75 kilometres north of Montreal.
This marks the ninth probably drowning at the Falls over the last two decades.