As It Happens

Volunteer divers help water-skier find his prosthetic leg

After Max Lévesque lost his prosthetic leg while barefoot water-skiing, his wife put out a call on Facebook for divers to help find it -- and, after a week of searching, they found it.
The successful search party posing with the recovered leg.
Call off the search.

Two weeks ago, Max Lévesque was barefoot water-skiing when he hit a difficult wave. He made it through - but left his leg behind. Lévesque has a prosthetic and by the time he got his bearings the leg had sank into the shadowy depths of lac Sylvère near Saint-Donat, Quebec.

"It took a few seconds for him to realize he lost it...he actually continued a little bit and then they turned around to look for it," Lévesque's wife Julie Kennedy tells As It Happens guest host Peter Armstrong.

Lévesque has many prosthetic legs but most are used for specific tasks like running. Unfortunately, the water-skiing prosthetic was his most versatile. He needed to find it.

"That was the one he used everyday, that was his most comfortable one," Kennedy explains.
Water-skier Max Lévesque (Julie Kennedy/Facebook)

She took to social media to try to find a solution. The plan was to assemble a team of divers to scan the depths for her husband's leg. But the search proved difficult.

"Right away it was spreading very fast...I was looking at my Facebook page and I could not believe the numbers - in just a few hours we had six or seven hundred...I just looked yesterday and we were just short of ten thousand."

"Max wasn't sure exactly where he lost it...we started with a 100 ft by 300 ft wide zone...the depth was 40 to 150 ft deep."

The cold water and limited visibility were also problematic.

"Below 60 ft there is a lot of sediment...we were afraid that if it were in that part we could not see it," Kennedy explains.

Fortunately, Kennedy says there was a healthy amount of competition among the volunteer divers. "They all wanted to be the one who found it...just to be there and explore a new lake too and help Max."
Max Lévesque and Julie Kennedy (Julie Kennedy/Facebook)

In the end, their efforts did not go to waste.

"Sunday was kind of a last call search day...we had eight divers and we were at the end of the searching zone...eleven minutes after they started diving they found it," Kennedy explains.

Both Kennedy and her husband are still digesting the news.

"I'm very surprised...I could not believe that so many people were touched by this story and helped to spread the news around so that we could find some divers."

But the whole ordeal has not phased Lévesque. When asked whether he will resume water-skiing Kennedy insists "he wants to find away to set up his prosthetic so if it happens again it will float."