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Man ‘lucky to be alive’ following ice rescue on Petitcodiac River

Firefighters from Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview responded to the banks of the Petitcodiac River following reports of a man stuck on an ice block on Thursday morning. Shelley Steeves/ Global News

Fire officials with the City of Dieppe say a man is lucky to be alive after he was stranded on a piece of ice that flowed with the current down the Petitcodiac River.

“He’s very lucky to still be with us. We’re determining right now if he has hypothermia,” said Dieppe’s District Fire Chief Marc Cormier.

Firefighters from Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe responded to the call at around 8:15 a.m. Thursday morning. Reports suggested the man was standing on a large chunk of ice.

About 30 firefighters responded to the call and attempted an ice rescue, but officials says the man continuously refused their assistance.

READ MORE: Kelowna firefighters brush up on cold water rescue techniques

Rescuers tried throwing the man rope and a personal floatation device (PFD) but he wouldn’t take it. Firefighters attempted to launch a boat but due to a low tide and 40-feet banks, they were unsuccessful.

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“Once we determined that we were not able to launch a boat because of the height of the banks, we made the call to the coast guard and they joined the rescue,” said Cormier.

The coast guard joined rescue efforts and not long after, the man stepped off the ice in Dieppe. The man, who is in his 40s, walked across the marsh to Riverview where he was intercepted by the RCMP.

“He stepped off the ice block on his own and walked towards dry land and then he was spotted by firefighters and that was where he was rescued,” said Cormier.

READ MORE: Firefighters rescue 2 fishermen who fell through ice near Haliburton

Water and ice rescues are uncommon in the area. Cormier says they respond to about half a dozen per year and they normally occur in the summer months, involving surfers.

The RCMP is continuing its investigation.

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