Alec Daviau

A 39-year-old university student entered the 42-degree Blanche River multiple times to rescue a 7-year-old girl who was being carried downstream. On May 2, 2021, Emilia I. Fontana fell from a boulder into the swift-moving river near Kirkland Lake, Ontario. Alec Daviau of Kirkland Lake saw Emilia being carried downstream and ran along the bank to catch up to her. At one point, he entered the river, but the frigid temperature took his breath away and he was forced to exit. As she was carried toward a man-made dam, Daviau continued to run along the river following her. She submerged and Daviau lost sight of her. He climbed a hill to get a better vantage point and after spotting something below the water’s surface, he slid down the bank and reentered the river, swimming about 25 feet from the bank. Searching with his hands under the surface of the water, he felt Emilia’s hair and pulled her to the surface. Bringing her to the bank, he started resuscitation. Others who arrived at the bank took over the first aid and Emilia was revived. She was hospitalized overnight for hypothermia. Daviau was cold after the rescue and had difficulty breathing and walking. He also sustained lacerations and contusions to his legs. Both Emilia and Daviau recovered.