Man pulled from Quidi Vidi lake dies

Daniel MacEachern
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A police cruiser sits near Quidi Vidi Lake Thursday after an elderly man was pulled from the water. The man died in hospital Friday morning. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

A man who was pulled from Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John’s has died.

On Thursday afternoon, bystanders pulled an 84-year-old man from the lake, who was then taken to the hospital. Const. Karen Didham of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary confirmed the man died Friday morning.

“The major crimes and the medical examiner’s office will work closely together to determine what the contributing factors are to his death,” said Didham, who added that an autopsy will be performed. “Once we learn the results of the autopsy, then we’ll continue the investigation.

“Certainly, there doesn’t appear to be any foul play, but he did succumb to his injuries or his medical conditions that he was being treated for at the time.”

Didham said she expected the autopsy to be done Friday or today, and there are several witnesses to interview.

Rick Gagnon of St. John’s was walking past the boathouse with his wife around 2 p.m. Thursday when a woman asked if he knew how to swim.

“She had noticed that this man had been gurgling and floundering in the water,” he said.

Gagnon, wearing shorts, ran to the end of a nearby dock, took off his shirt and sandals and dove in to swim out to the man.

 It took him a few minutes to reach the elderly man, who was face-down in the water.

“He was obviously unconscious. He was face-down in the water and I could see the top of his shoulders and the top of his head,” said Gagnon.

He couldn’t manage to turn the man over, so he opted to pull him back to shore.

“The water was quite deep, and I couldn’t really stand up until I was almost next to the shoreline,” he said.

Another bystander, Dave Green of St. John’s, jumped into the water to help pull the man onto the shore.

Emergency officials from the fire department were on the scene by then to bring the man onto solid ground and perform CPR.

“I think he did bring up a fair bit of water, and they worked on him quite a lot, and then they got him in the ambulance. I think they were still working on him then,”  Gagnon said.

Gagnon credited everyone on scene for trying to bring the man to safety, from the woman who called for help, to Greene, to the fire department officials and paramedics.

Police said Friday afternoon they are trying to find the man’s next of kin.

Geographic location: Quidi Vidi Lake

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Recent comments

  • r c brewer
    September 24, 2011 - 09:22

    For sure Rick Gagnon is the man of the hour here.