Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Sad Story

Ever have a really sad story that you hear on the news or in the paper that just kind of haunts you for a while? I'm kind of experiencing that right now. If you live in Manitoba you've probably heard this story, but on June 8th a man and his son were fly fishing on the Red River near Lockport Manitoba. According to the Winnipeg Free Press (check out story/video here):

An RCMP boat from Gimli is searching today for 41-year-old Viktor Hergert of Oakbank and his nine-year-old son Andrean, missing and presumed drowned last night in the Red River north of the Lockport dam.
Witnesses said Hergert jumped into the water in an effort to save Andrean, after his son slipped while fishing just before 8 p.m. last night.

Viktor Hergert had caught a fish, and Andrean was helping to land it, he said. “The younger fellow was trying to pick up a fish. The boy went to net the fish, and he slipped and fell in the water,” Cooney said.

Cooney said that he is not aware of any life-saving equipment available on the banks of the river. “I’ve been here five or six years, and no one’s ever mentioned it,” he said. RCMP spokesman Sgt. Steve Colwell said that RCMP have no other details to release about the missing father and son. “There’s only the daughter who speaks any English,” he said.

Bystander Mike Brandt, 22, said the father jumped into the river to get his son after the boy slipped just before 8 p.m.

Brandt said the boy and his father were carried down the river, bobbing up and down with their arms flapping. He said the son was a little bit downstream of his father, but they were probably within a metre of each other initially. But Brandt said the boy went under fairly quickly.

“The whole incident took about 30 seconds and they were gone,” said Brandt's girlfriend, Ashlee Rempel.

Brandt said the mother of the child and her other children started running alongside the river. Bystanders called out to them to get away from the bank.

Bystanders said the family was German, with only one little girl able to speak English.
The boy had curly, dark hair. Rempel said the father had black hair and she guessed he was about 5-foot-11.

Rempel said the rescuer pulled from the river had bloodshot eyes and could barely walk when they got him out.

Brandt said there was no lifesaving equipment nearby to throw to the pair in the river. “I could have saved a life if there was.”

Brandt said the father was wearing hip waders and was fishing while standing in the river up to his mid-thighs. There were about 15 people in the area.

Selkirk RCMP Const. Greg Zaborosky said last night that police were still in the process of figuring out what happened and talking to witnesses.

As the light faded last night, boats were out looking for the boy and man downstream of Lockport and Zaborosky said it was too early to say whether the pair could have survived.

Lockport is a popular fishing spot, but locals tend to realize it's unsafe to stand in the river because the current is so strong. The Red River is unusually high this month.

This story saddens me on so many levels. Mostly I feel so bad for a wife and children who watched as their husband/father and son/brother drowned in front of them. That kind of pain, so unexpected and so seemingly unfair . . . happening during a family fishing trip - it seems almost inconceivable to me. This family is completely undone. Words just can't describe how awful it is. If this happened to my family . . . well, I don't want to even think about it. Please pray for this family and for the bystanders who I'm sure were also deeply effected. Also, pray that some good can come out of such a horrible tragedy.

May Light (and peace) increase.

2 comments:

Jobina said...

Wow, Mark you said you were blogging about something sad, I had no idea. that poor family.

Rayna said...

I cannot imagine... now that I have my own child, all of these stories hit so much closer to home. I find I am even more sensitvie about all the news items to do with children and part of me wants to close the entire world out and a part of me, the stronger part, knows I cannot and need to know and be aware and pray, so much, for the families and the misguided people in this world (not talking of this story, but other ones in the news right now.)