Drowned bride's family calls for stronger security measures near river
A river is shown at Dorwin park in Rawdon, Que., Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. (Graham Hughes / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Tuesday, August 28, 2012 8:13AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 28, 2012 10:50AM EDT
The family of a Quebec bride who drowned during a post-wedding photo shoot is calling for stronger security measures near the river that swept away the newlywed.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Maria Pantazopoulos’ family said it was her first time visiting the scenic photo shoot spot near Dorwin Falls in Rawdon, about an hour north of Montreal.
The location was suggested by her photographer Louis Pagakis, the family said.
Pantazopoulos is believed to have been participating in a “Trash the Dress” photo shoot, a trend in which newlywed brides are photographed destroying their gowns in a creative manner.
The 30-year-old slipped while posing in the Ouareau River near Dorwin Falls last week.
Pagakis said he tried to rescue Pantazopoulos, but her dress became heavy with water and she was swept downstream into a nearby basin that was about eight metres deep.
In the statement, Pantazopoulos’ family said the bride trusted she would be safe during the photo shoot.
“One thing we are certain about is that our Maria would have never put her life at risk. Her love for life, for her husband and for her family would never allow it,” the statement read.
Pagakis has said that Pantazopoulos asked him to photograph her in the moving water.
When she fell, Pagakis said he and another witness tried to save her but were unable to pull her out of the river. He surmised that it was because her gown became heavy with water.
Police say Pantazopoulos knew how to swim, but was weighed down by her wet dress.
Other “Trash the Dress” photo shoots have involved mud, cupcakes and paint -- but it’s not unusual for brides participating in the trend to be photographed in or near water.
Once police arrived on scene, two officers jumped into the river to search for Pantazopoulos.
But police said the Laval woman’s body wasn’t discovered until an avid diver, who had caught word of the incident, showed up with his equipment.
In their Tuesday statement, Pantazopoulos’ family thanked everyone who attempted to rescue the bride, as well as the family and friends who are “standing by” them right now.
Pantazopoulos’ family described her as someone who was “very trusting.”
“Maria’s interior beauty far surpassed her exterior beauty. She was loving and fun. She was a responsible young lady. Above all she was honest and her word was gold,” they said.
The statement ended with the family asking for privacy as they grieve.
Pantazopoulos was married last June.