Montreal

Canoers gather to remember man who died in St. Lawrence River

More than 50 canoers braved the cold in Quebec City Saturday morning to glide down the St. Lawrence River in memory of Daniel Malenfant, who died canoeing there in December.

Daniel Malenfant was swept away by the current after his canoe capsized in December

Canoers braved temperatures as low as –38 C to pay their respects on Saturday to Daniel Malenfant. (Radio-Canada)

More than 50 canoers braved the cold in Quebec City Saturday morning to glide down the St. Lawrence River in memory of Daniel Malenfant, who died canoeing there in December.

The group met at l'Anse au Foulon, the site of Malenfant's death, southwest of the Plains of Abraham, at 9 a.m. It was –38 C with wind chill.

"It's extremely important to be here this morning in honour of Daniel," said Olivier Hubert-Benoît, who was in Malenfant's canoe when it capsized. 

Hubert-Benoît and three others survived the Dec.-13th accident by managing to swim ashore. Malenfant, however, was swept away by the current. 

Rescuers pulled him from the icy waters about 30 minutes later. Malenfant was in a state of respiratory arrest and suffering from severe hypothermia when he was taken to hospital, where he later died. 

On Saturday, the group observed a minute of silence to honour Malenfant, who was 39 years old. They then lifted their paddles to the sky.

"I am extremely touched by the community of boaters who came this morning," Hubert-Benoît said.

Malenfant, a physiotherapist originally from Rivière-du-Loup, had been canoeing since 2012. 

When he goes out on the river now, Hubert-Benoît says he is more careful. He plans to encourage other canoers to take safety precautions when they brave the river waters in winter.

With files from Radio-Canada