One rescued, one missing in Ottawa River

(Ottawa Sun file photo)

(Ottawa Sun file photo)

Aedan Helmer, Aedan Helmer QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:58 PM ET

OTTAWA -- One man was pulled from the fast-flowing waters of the Ottawa River, but another is missing and presumed drowned after a rafting trip went bad Sunday.

Gatineau, Que., fire crews rushed to the river bank around 4:15 p.m. following reports a raft had capsized, plunging two men in their 20s into the raging water near the Deschenes Rapids.

Ottawa firefighters were called in to assist in the effort 30 minutes later, and rescuers were able to locate one man on the Gatineau side of the river, near Houle St.

The man who made it out safely was wearing a life-jacket; his friend was not.

Gatineau Fire acting chief Stephane Sarrazin called it an "extremely dangerous" stretch of the river, where many inexperienced boaters have underestimated the strong current and several have perished.

According to Sarrazin, the area where the raft capsized is considered an "exclusion zone," meaning even rescuers won't risk venturing into the waters.

Gatineau Fire called off the search for the second man after two hours, while Ottawa Fire and police continued the search well into the evening, with hope for a happy ending fading fast.

"We managed to rescue the first gentleman after he had been in the water for a little less than one hour," said Sarrazin, "and even then, he was already suffering mild to severe hypothermia.

"The possibility of rescuing a person without a life vest, in that temperature of water, after that much time is slim to none."

aedan.helmer@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @OttSunHelmer

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