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ONTARIO: North Bay men save three from drowning, including a two-year-old

Pair were fishing in their canoe when they heard cries for help

NORTH BAY — Two men who saved three lives in the freezing water off Sunset Park last evening are saying they did what anyone would do — act quickly to save people from drowning.

Friends Patrick Cormier and Derek Nowry were fishing from their canoe around 8:30 last night, when cries for help broke the still air.

"We heard some yelling while we were out fishing, Nowry told BayToday at the scene.

They paddled around the point and found two men in the water along with a two-year-old girl about 150 yards offshore.

"We picked the little girl up first and then went and threw life jackets out to the men," said Cormier. "She was the only one wearing a life jacket."

After tossing the lifejackets, the pair then took the little girl to shore.

"There was a bunch of stuff floating, there was a gas tank floating, a whole bunch of debris from the boat when it went under. We saved the little girls life." Cormier recalled later in the parking lot as he and Nowry started packing away their gear.

At the time, they thought they may have been too late to save the girl's life as she bobbed in the cold water.

"I picked her up and she didn't look very good, but then she looked me dead in the eye when I picked her up and started screaming," recalled Nowry.

"The distance between the two adults and the little girl was about 60 feet and she was floating there by herself."

A lifejacket saved her from certain drowning, on what they later learned, was her second birthday.

"She was wearing a pink lifejacket, and she had no choice but to be there. We saw her right away and she wasn't moving, just lying on her back. All I can remember is just her little feet hanging out of the water, so we grabbed her and put her into the boat and she starting crying," said Cormier.

"Wasn't that a sigh of relief, ho-lee." interjected Nowry. "We knew she was okay when she started crying so then we rushed to shore and went back for the next guy."

"We went back out for one guy because he was pretty far out, but he was holding on to a float," said Cormier. "We started towing him back then the MNR boat showed up and picked him up."

The victims were fishing at the time their boat capsized.

Cormier says one of the men told him how it happened.

"One of the guys says he was taking a leak and flipped the boat while he was doing that."

The 12-14 ft. boat with a little 5 hp motor is now resting at the bottom of the lake.


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Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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