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Woman who died at Wolf River Falls was trying to retrieve a drone

OPP say a group of three people likely underestimated the strength of the current

THUNDER BAY — The tragic death of a Thunder Bay woman at Wolf River Falls on Canada Day occurred during an effort to recover a drone.

Ontario Provincial Police released further details Monday afternoon regarding the incident that claimed the life of 25-year-old Pooja Vyas.

Staff Sergeant David Moscall  of Nipigon OPP said Vyas and two other people were attempting a crossing of the fast-flowing river when she was swept away.

"Our understanding is that one of the individuals was operating a drone, and the drone had landed in the trees. They were trying to retrieve it," he explained in an interview.

Moscall said he understands the trio formed a daisy chain to get across the river.

"I presume that they underestimated the speed of the river, and weren't able to successfully navigate that stretch of water."

Vyas and another person, identified by a police source as her husband, were both swept over the falls.

She succumbed to her injuries at the scene while he was taken to Thunder Bay with life-threatening injuries.

Wolf River Falls is located about 30 kilometres northwest of Dorion.

Thunder Bay Fire Rescue's high angle recovery team was called to assist police and paramedics, and had to make their way down a cliff at an 80-degree angle.

The water, Moscall noted, was extremely fast-moving and cold.

First responders "did an amazing job in a horrible circumstance" where they were confronted by multiple complications, he said.

"If anyone's been in that area, it's horrible terrain. They had to move these individuals over 500 metres to get them to where paramedics could work on them."

Moscall said area rivers have much more water than they usually do this time of year.

"The water is moving a lot more quickly than local residents are used to seeing.  [Exercise} caution when you are around the water...It's just a fractIon of a second when you can be in extreme difficulty."


Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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