Normand Boucher saved Mary E. J. Burt from drowning and helped attempt to save Garry Burt, Manotick, Ontario, January 12, 2003. Burt and his wife, both 48, were riding a snowmobile at night on the ice-covered Rideau River when the machine broke through and sank, spilling them into the frigid water at a point about 90 feet from the closer bank. They surfaced. Ms. Burt held to the ice and yelled for help, but her husband was inert. In his nearby home on the closer bank, Boucher, 45, police officer, was alerted to the situation. He obtained an aluminum stepladder from his shed and went out onto the ice. To distribute his weight more evenly, he lay on the stepladder, then he propelled himself to the eight-foot hole containing the victims. At the edge of the hole, Boucher grasped Ms. Burt by her attire and pulled her onto solid ice. In repeated attempts he tried to pull Burt out in a similar manner, in the process losing use of the ladder and finding himself unable to move backward. Lying in three inches of water, Boucher retained his hold on Burt to keep his head above water. A neighbor approached and threw one end of a rope to Boucher, but he could not manipulate it. A responding police constable crawled out to Boucher, tied the rope around him, then pulled Boucher backward, resulting in Boucher pulling Burt from the water and onto the ice. Burt and his wife were taken to the hospital, where Burt succumbed to effects of his ordeal. Ms. Burt was treated for hypothermia, and she recovered. Boucher also showed the effects of hypothermia and recovered.
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