A man is presumed dead after falling into the North Saskatchewan River while attempting to rescue a dog off the ice.
Just after 12:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services responded for a river rescue in Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park off Buena Vista Road.
It was reported a woman’s dog had run onto the river ice and a man who was also walking his dog stopped to help. He went onto the ice after the dog and it broke, causing both the man and dog to fall into the river.
Seven units including approximately six rapid deployment crafts were sent to respond, arriving at 12:45 p.m. People along the river followed the man, keeping him in sight as long as they could while fire crews made their way down the riverbank to access the water.
While the dog was rescued around 1 p.m., the man was carried down the river towards an ice shelf near Groat Bridge and crews were unable to retrieve him before he was lost from sight.
Edmonton police and STARS air ambulance assisted in the search of the man, but he was not located. The search was called off just before 4 p.m.
“It is with great sadness that I confirm that the individual involved in today’s river rescue has not been located and we have since called off the search. On behalf of Edmonton Fire Rescue Services, our thoughts go out to the individual, their family and friends,” said fire Chief Joe Zatylny in a statement.
“This is a tragic reminder of the dangers of the river and that it is never safe to go onto the river ice.”