West Quebec couple survive plunge into Val-des-Monts area lake
Published Thursday, January 19, 2017 12:17PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 19, 2017 7:07PM EST
A Gatineau couple is lucky to be alive tonight after their vehicle went through the ice. The man made it out then dove into the water twice to save his wife. It happened near the Outaouais community of Val des Monts on the shores of Lake McMullin, about hour's drive outside Ottawa.
Kevin Wiseman still bears the cut on his forehead where he broke thru the truck windshield to escape.
He knew he had only minutes to rescue his wife.
“It's like a hero supporting the cause,” says snowmobiler Shawn Murphy, as he passes along the trail that Kevin Wiseman would have groomed last night, before tragedy struck, “that’s an incredible guy there you know.”
Hero: it's a fitting word for Kevin Wiseman after a harrowing near-death experience Wednesday evening for both of him and his wife Audrey Berndt.
"If it hadn't been for my husband,” she says, “I wouldn't be here.”
Wiseman was grooming a snowmobile trail through the area around Lac McMullin around 7 p.m. Wednesday. Audrey decided to join him. The trail isn't one that Wiseman was familiar with. He normally grooms trails in Gatineau so when he thought he was continuing along the trail, he realized he was actually on the ice and started trying to turn around. That’s when his heavy machine quickly broke through.
The cab started filling with water. Wiseman used his forehead to break the car windshield and finally managed to get out.
“I hit the windshield with my forehead,” he says, showing off the cuts along his hairline, “That’s how I saved my life. I broke open the windshield and “whoosh”, the water came in.”
But his wife Audrey Berndt was still trapped inside.
“My life flashed in front of my eyes,” she says, “When I took that last big gulp of water, I said to myself, “my poor kids, my poor husband, I'm going to die.”
Wiseman dove down into the icy water once, twice, three times, finally grabbing Berndt by the shoulder and pulling her out.
That third time, that was it, he says, “If I didn't find my wife, I was going to stay under, too.They made it to a neighbouring house for help. Evelyne Steele and her husband heard a knock at the door and woman screaming.
“They needed help,” Steele says, “they were soaking wet. We managed to drag her in, she didn’t have any strength in her legs, and she couldn't walk. She was in shock.”
Today, the two were back at the lake watching as their vehicle was hauled out from the depths of the lake; those around marveling that they survived.
“It's a good guy, a real good guy,” says Laurent Charron, whose company helped haul the machinery out of the lake.
The two went to the hospital last night suffering from hypothermia. They were released by midnight. Aside from some cuts and bruises they are otherwise fine. Just incredibly shaken up.