Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services firefighters rescued a man from the frigid waters of the Welland Canal at Ramey’s Bend Friday afternoon after he dove in to save his dog.
Niagara Regional Police, in a release, said a couple was walking their dog along the west bank of the canal, on the Welland Canals Parkway Trail, when the dog jumped into the water.
As firefighters and police searched for where the couple was located – there was some confusion as to their exact location – police said the man decided to jump into the water in an attempt to save his dog.
Screams from the couple could be heard on the opposite side of the canal near the former marine emergency training centre and an employee from Vinyl Works, located on Ramey’s Bend, could be seen looking into the canal to where the pair were.
Firefighters and police gained access to the canal bank just north of Riverland AG, the former Robin Hood Multifoods, and quickly made their way to the couple. The man was clinging to the canal wall, while a woman was on the canal bank.
Police said once in the water, “the male began to experience the effects of hypothermia and could not remove himself … further hindered by the steep walls …”
One firefighter in a survival suit, secured on a rope, made his way into the water and grabbed the man, while other firefighters lowered a ladder into the canal. A second firefighter jumped in the canal as well.
Welland Fire and Emergency Services firefighters also responded to the call, and were waiting at the end of Kingsway Rd., where the former and current Welland Canal meet in Dain City. Welland also launched one of its fire rescue boats, but it was not needed. A team from the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. was sent to the call as well.
The two Port Colborne firefighters in the water, with assistance from firefighters and police on shore, helped the man up the ladder, where he was taken to the back of a police cruiser to be warmed up as Niagara EMS paramedics made their way to the scene.
He was transported to Welland hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
“Unfortunately, the dog was not located and appears to have succumbed to the frigid waters,” police said.
The release said the water temperature of local waterways continues to hover slightly above the freezing mark.
“As a result, these waters present an imminent danger to the life of anyone who enters them. The police service is reminding the members of the public not to enter these waters and to use caution with respect to themselves, as well as their pets, when in the vicinity of any watercourse. Pets should remain leashed at all times.”