Police, firemen, local fishermen, and even the Canadian Coast Guard were all called in to help a man who became stranded on an ice floe on the Petitcodiac River in south-eastern New Brunswick.
The man was spotted early in the morning on February 23, although it’s unclear how long he was on the river for. Initially emergency officials tried to get a boat on the river so they could intervene, but the high snowbanks made this very dangerous and they were forced to stay on shore and attempt to help him from there.
“We had six teams strategically located along the riverbanks so once he was passing one location we had teams waiting for him down the river,” division chief Marc Cormier of the Dieppe Fire Department told CTV News.
Dozens of firemen from three local towns attempted to help the man by throwing him rope, but he refused assistance.
Eventually, the floe — which was relatively flat and about double the man’s height in length — came close enough to the riverbank that the man could jump onto land.
While the man agreed to being taken to the hospital, it is unclear why he refused help and how he got onto the floe in the first place. He was released later that same day after being treated for hypothermia and upper body injuries.
Cormier emphasized to CTV News that the man’s reticence to accept help was very unusual, as well as dangerous.
“It’s the first time that we experienced somebody who does not want to get help initially, so we were very lucky that he eventually got tired and wanted some help.”
“He’s very lucky to still be with us,” Cormier told CBC News