Nova Scotia

Senior OK after spending 24 hours in Lower Sackville ditch

A senior who fell and spent more than 24 hours in a watery ditch in Lower Sackville is out of hospital and considering herself lucky to be OK.

A senior who fell and spent more than 24 hours in a watery ditch in Lower Sackville is out of hospital and considering herself lucky to be OK.

Gloria Ratto had just left a gas station convenience store two weeks ago by foot when she took a shortcut back to her apartment and crossed a ditch on some pallets doubling as a makeshift bridge, when she fell into water.

"I thought somebody was going to find me, but I didn't know it was going to be the coldest night of the year so far," the 68-year-old said.
Gloria Ratto says she never really considered the idea of not being found. (CBC)

Ratto was only a short distance from the store, but traffic on Sackville Drive drowned out her calls for help and no one came through the path.

Ratto still has the scars from her desperate attempts to pull herself to safety.

She was left for hours trying to grab branches, anything, to pull herself out.

"These are from the briars or thorns or whatever you call them," she said, pointing to her scars. "And this is just from trying to haul myself up."

As the hours passed and it started to get dark, Ratto knew if she was going to make it out of there, she would have to hang on to the next morning.

"I've got sore knees and my back is sore, but I was trying to like lift both of your parts up at once to see if I could sit up and I worked at it until it was pitch black out and then I must have passed out."
This was the makeshift bridge Ratto tried to cross through a shortcut to her home.

More than 24 hours later, neighbour Paul Murphy found Ratto unresponsive almost completely covered by the water.

He told CBC News that while searching for her, he probably passed within 10 metres of her.

She was rushed to hospital hypothermic and her blood pressure dangerously low.

"I thought that this was it. We were told to say our last words to her at one point," said Glenda Green, Ratto's daughter.

"I slept for two full days they said," said Ratto.

When Ratto awoke doctors had some advice for her.

"They just told me don't go fishing without anybody with you," Ratto said with a chuckle.

Ratto said she never gave up hope she'd be found alive. "I guess it's one of God's blessings," she said.

She said she's never taking the shortcut again.

   

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