The owner of the Splash Dash water taxi service at The Forks found himself in a rescue attempt when he helped pull a man from the Red River near the Norwood Bridge this morning.
Police say the man did not survive.
Gord Cartwright and his crew, collecting the various docks from his water taxi route in an annual end-of-season exercise, were storing the docks on the south shore of the Assiniboine River about 10 a.m. when he noticed the flashing lights of emergency vehicles on the bridge.
Initially thinking it was a serious motor vehicle collision, he noticed a fire and rescue diver swimming in the river toward a person floating.
"They didn’t have a boat there," Cartwright said, "but I had one. So I ran back over the pedestrian bridge, jumped in a boat and took off to assist. There was a second diver in the water already. The rescue boat wasn’t there yet when I got there, so they decided to pull the person into my boat."
Cartwright wasn’t just a spectator once on scene, either. He said he helped lift the man into the boat, with the two emergency responders pushing the individual from the water. He then steered the water taxi to the concrete dock on the east side of the bridge to waiting paramedics.
The man was rushed to hospital in critical condition but didn't survive.