|Maria Pantazopoulos. (Facebook photo)
MONTREAL - A friend of a woman who drowned in her wedding dress during a photo shoot north of Montreal says the woman's death could have been prevented by barriers at the river's edge.
Maria Pantazopoulos, 30, fell into the water during a 'trash-the-dress' photo shoot in Rawdon, Que., and drowned when the soaked garment weighed her down.
Her family is demanding that authorities block off access to the river near Dorwin Falls, 75 km north of Montreal.
"If Dorwin Falls is so dangerous, they should put up a fence," said family spokeswoman Leeza Pouhoulidis. "They should protect people. It's not enough to have a small sign."
The sign warns that swimming is prohibited but the warnings are routinely ignored by swimmers.
"This isn't the first time someone has been hurt or killed here," says Pouhoulidis. "We're talking about human lives. It's a life that's been destroyed, so have all those people around Maria."
Town councilor Jacqueline Zara says she and her colleagues should examine the security issue at their next meeting.
Zara says barricades and increased patrols are just some of the options.
"What happened is terrible," said Zara. "That's what it takes sometimes to remind people of the danger."
Raynald Hawkins, CEO of the Lifesaving Society, tells QMI that authorities could install life preservers to help people who fall into the water, something a coroner suggested just two weeks ago.