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Boater dies after watercraft hits bridge pillar in Montreal river

A view of the Rivière des Prairies on Friday, June 18, 2021. Courtesy TVA

A boater has died after he was pulled from the waters of the Rivière des Prairies Friday afternoon, following a collision involving the boat he was on.

Alain Laflamme, section chief with the Montreal fire department, said the man was ejected from the boat after it crashed into a pillar of the Highway 25 bridge linking Montreal to Laval.

Laflamme said the man, 69, was retrieved from the river by nearby boaters.

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“They began CPR on the victim,” Laflamme said, explaining that the boaters tried reaching the shore on the Montreal side of the river but were unable to due to shallow waters.

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Firefighters out on the water transferred the victim and continued CPR, Laflamme said.

The man was safely brought to shore and rushed to hospital in critical condition, where he later died.

Initially police misidentified the victim as a passenger on the boat, but Laval police spokesperson Stéphanie Beshara confirmed Friday evening he was the driver.

The passenger was not injured in the collision, but he was treated for shock.

Following the crash, the passenger drove the boat to the Laval side of the river, where he was taken in charge by Laval police.

Read more: Boy, 10, dies after being pulled from lake in Quebec City

At one point, it was believed another passenger may have been aboard the small motorized watercraft, prompting a wide search and rescue operation.

Read more: Search continues to find a man struck by a boat in Laval after a watercraft accident

Firefighters from Laval and Montreal, as well as Montreal police officers, were involved in the search.

While the bridge pillar belongs to both cities, Laval police will be leading the investigation.

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“We have the boat and the person,” Beshara explained.

The circumstances leading to the crash are still unknown.

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