Bride drowns while modelling wedding gown near Rawdon
Published Friday, August 24, 2012 4:37PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 27, 2012 11:24AM EDT
RAWDON - Rescue teams recovered the body of newlywed Laval realtor Maria Pantazopoulos, 30, Friday after the bride was swept away in the current near Dorwin Falls in Rawdon Friday afternoon.
Pantazopoulos was posing for photos in her wedding dress near the scenic falls, as a way to commemorate her June 9 wedding.
The photo shoot was part of a increasingly-popular rite of passage known as trash the dress, in which artistic photos are taken of the wedding gown being destroyed. The ritual was meant as a joyous celebration of having found her partner for life.
Pantzopoulos entered the water to pose for a photo but the dress became heavy when wet and the current pulled her to the bottom of an eight-metre-deep section of the lake.
The man shooting the photos said that Pantazopoulos was a small of stature, weighing around 100 lbs, and although she could swim, she was quickly overwhelmed.
"She had her wedding dress on and she said, ‘take some pictures of me while I swim a little bit in the lake,’ she went in and her dress got heavy, I tried everything I could to save her,” said photographer Louis Pagakis.
“I jumped in, I was screaming and yelling, we tried our best," said Pagakis, pushing back tears.
The incident occurred at around 2 p.m and rescue teams recovered her body shortly before 6 p.m.
The two witnesses were treated at hospital for shock.
Another photographer named Mario Michaud told CTV Montreal that he narrowly avoided a similar mishap in a photoshoot at the same spot in May.
In that case the woman was saved but he pointed out that he now realizes that the alluring beauty of the spot belies its potential for danger.
One experienced diver from the regon told CTV Montreal that the current is deceptively strong, as those who venture into the waters quickly find out.
Those who have drowned in recent years near Rawdon include a 14-year-old boy who died in June 2005, while several others drowned in the area in the mid-1990s.
Rawdon is a town of around 10,000 residents, 75 kilometres north of Montreal.
Maria Pantazopoulos was a realtor from Laval, Que.
Dorwin Falls is a scenic spot near Rawdon, Quebec.