OTTAWA (CP) - It was a deadly day on the water Saturday, with
three Ottawa residents drowning in three separate accidents.
The first was a 29-year-old Ottawa man who died in a scuba
diving accident at Long Sault on the St. Lawrence River.
A teen's birthday party in an east end suburb also ended in
tragedy with the drowning of a 13-year-old boy who was a guest at
the party.
The third death was a young man who was escorting younger
relatives on a fishing trip. He drowned while trying to save two of
his charges who had fallen in the water.
Hussein Choucaire, 22, his brother Kamil, 13, nephew Osman
Kasser, 13, and a second nephew, 8, were fishing in pools on the
southern, downstream side of Bate Island on the Ottawa River.
To get to the pools, many people wade out into the shallow
rapids and let their bait float downstream. Hussein's group was no
different.
Kamil and Osman were about 20 metres from shore in knee-deep,
fast-moving water when Osman hooked a fish and lost his footing on
the slippery rocks.
"I fell, then Kamil tried to help me, but he fell too," Osman
said later while friends and family gathered at the Ottawa
Hospital.
Hussein saw the boys in trouble, struggling in the water and
fighting the current, and began making his way to them.
"I was trying to help Kamil, and I got him," Osman said. "I
pulled him out and we tried to get (Hussein) too but he was gone
too far. We went to shore. Everything happened fast."
Minutes after a bystander called 911, the police and fire
department arrived and sent boats into the water.
For the next hour, a half-dozen kayakers, four police and fire
department boats, and other emergency personnel with face masks and
snorkels scoured the water searching for Hussein.
As the search continued, a stream of distraught family members
arrived on the island, wailing in anguish.
Many were simply overcome with grief and collapsed on the ground
in tears.
A police diver found Hussein's body in about three metres of
water about 40 metres downstream from where he went in.
"We've been telling people for years that this is a dangerous
section of the river," Ottawa police Insp. Tyrus Cameron said.
"Unfortunately, this is not the first time something like this has
happened."
(Ottawa Citizen)


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