Newlywed Woman Pulled Into Canadian River and Drowned By Her Wedding Dress in Photo Shoot

There is a terribly tragic story out of Quebec where Maria Pantazopoulos, 30, was drowned during a photo shoot near the Dorwin Falls in Rawdon. Pantazopoulos was in her wedding dress and posing by dipping her toes in the water. The newlywed realtor was wearing a long wedding dress that became saturated and she was pulled into the current. The weight of the dress pulled Pantazopoulos down quickly into the water.

The photographer tried to grab her but the current and weight of the dress prevented him from pulling her out.

Pantazopoulos was reportedly engaged in a new practice called “trash the dress” where artistic photos are taken as the bride destroys the wedding gown as a celebration of finding her mate.

Given her small size and low weight (around 100 pounds), the wet dress proved too much for her to swim out of the current.

It appears that this very spot has produced earlier close calls with brides and and the areas has been the scene of past drownings.

The story does raise the question of liability for photographers given the danger of this spot. While the danger should be obvious (raising assumption of the risk claims), there is the possibility of negligence for a photographer in arranging the shoot. If this is a known area with a dangerous current, should the photographer be legally responsible for negligence?

As for the city, it has said that it will not take additional steps in putting in barriers or security. Liability for cities is relatively rare in such cases since the dangers are part of natural areas. The liability risk grows with the proximity to populated areas. Yet, one of the reason we love Canada is the beauty of its parks and outdoor areas. Hikers and campers encounter these areas at their own risk. Yet, the fact that this particular spot is so popular for photo shoots does raise the question of the city’s responsibility in not taking steps to deter people from wading into the water. What do you think?

Source: CBS

23 thoughts on “Newlywed Woman Pulled Into Canadian River and Drowned By Her Wedding Dress in Photo Shoot

  1. Small woman with huge dress steps into raging river for nonsensical act, and is swept away and drowns. Photographer liable? Seems to be the very definition of venturesomeness and hence assumption of risk.

  2. Did her groom (to-be?) have a life insurance policy on her, with extra payout for drowning???

    Or will the next law be forcing assumption of all risks when buying wedding dresses???

    Testing for witlessness seems unfeasible.

  3. I did not suggest that she was expressing her disappointment at the groom’s wedding night performance.
    Trash a dress, OK. But suicide is a bit much.

    I feel sorry for her.

    Hope it was not the mother-in-law who had required the shot for the album.

  4. mespo:

    shouldnt the photographer have known the risk? Did he suggest the spot or did she?

    If the photographer suggested it, doesnt he have a duty to make sure it is safe? Shouldnt he have had some sort of life saving equipment available?

    Maybe had a rope tied to her ankle?

  5. When Americans speak of liability in cases like this we are often chauvanistic. Other countries have sane tort laws, we’re the most crazy by a longshot. Whenever I worked on lawsuits involving foreign company defendants they all hated our system and were outraged @ how it “worked.”

  6. “trash the dress”

    Let me guess, it was the dressmakers association who came up with this ridiculous and wasteful “tradition.” And the sheep went for it.

  7. All that wedding crap is nonesense. Take HumpinDog for example. It does not take a wedding dress on some girl for HumpinDog to give a little hump now and then. What is with the ceremony? Why the Preacher? Why the Certificate of Marriage? Cant you humanoids pork without a license? Is it some backward women’s way of scoring the man and keeping title to him and his body parts?
    It is a shame that this one drowned. Blame the river. Blame the guy with the camera. Blame the state where the river is located. Blame the dress. Shame and blame.

  8. The shot was probably suggested by the photographer and she had turned the decision-making over to him. But as the sign on the mirror in the airport bathroom said, “You are looking at the person responsible for your safety.” I said “no, thank you” to a couple of rides b/c of that sign.

  9. nick:

    “When Americans speak of liability in cases like this we are often chauvanistic. Other countries have sane tort laws, we’re the most crazy by a longshot. Whenever I worked on lawsuits involving foreign company defendants they all hated our system and were outraged @ how it “worked.””


    Don’t know what you mean by insane. Maybe you’d like North Korea’s “sane” system of mandatory insurance and government approved civil settlements that bear no relationship to the injuries involved all with no liability determinations except in criminal cases. Or perhaps you’d like a capped system that shifts the burden to victims to pay their expenses over the cap. Fair indeed. And since most can’t pay, other blameless citizens pay in the form of higher taxes or increased healthcare premiums. Or perhaps you’d like the foreign system you so roundly tout where the poor and powerless get run over by the wealthy and powerful corporations. All very efficient indeed in preserving corporate profits on the backs of the poor and weak. They are all elitist, lack accountability, and are ,of course, and decidely un-American.

    My question to the multi-nationals that shrink in disgust at our system: Why are you so anxious to sell your products here if the tort system plagues the market so much? The truth is that it doesn’t and they know it.

    Propaganda works in the business environment too, as Gene H. would surely verify.

  10. Maybe America needs all those torts because it is phucked up.

    Messpo is correct in that a citizen in Stockholm has no chance of a snowball in Help to get a judgement against the three instances my friend Marianne is sueing. Negligent maintenance of sidewalk during winter conditions.

  11. No action by the city, oh my God! They should put an armed guard at that spot who can judge whether someone’s clothing is safe enough to touch the water. Can’t really describe what that clothing is, but I know it when I see it.

  12. hooskerdo,

    Some accuse Swedes with their cradle to grave security systme of being the way you imply.
    News for you all, we only lose one a year to climbing up our highest peak. And people respect both bears and crossing daytime floods in mountain canyons too.
    Just common sense. Although to show respect for her, one can get distracted, by many things. And then the mistake happens.

  13. mespo, As I’m sure you know, virtually every countrry has some form of “loser pays”. Those words send shutters up the spine of plaintiffs and defense attorney in the US. I am not in favor of loser pays but I am in favor of a tier system wherein the loser pays if they don’t reach a certain liability % determined by a jury. That way a person can sue on contingency against a large corporation but cannot do so frivously. They can’t “take a flyer” like too many cases. You know that there was a time when jujdges threw out frivolous claims..those days are virtually over. This loser pay tier system would make people carefully consider the facts and reinstate what judges did[throw out horsesh%t cases] up until the time attorneys were allowed to advertise. I’m sure that timing was just serendipitous. There are sane venues in the US and insane ones. Boeing made a horrendous blunder moving their corporate offices to Cook County… which is insane in many ways, including “justice.” I guess we’ll have to disagree on this. However, the fear and anger from foreign companies[Canada, UK, Italy, Germany, Brazil to name a few] was quite real, I saw it w/ my own eyes. Finally, foreign companies sell here for the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks, this “is where the money is!”

  14. With all credit to the genius that was Forrest Gump – “stupid is – as stupid does” – screw the laws and screw the blame, folks – what the hell has happened to common sense? I don’t care what freaking country you live in! No substitute for common sense. These days- it’s sorely lacking…. everywhere….

  15. I had the same thought…Stupid is, as stupid does. Or as I currently say – “Can’t fix stupid.” This is her own fault and she paid the ultimate price. Recently, a man was mauled taking photographs of a grizzly bear eating berries. The bear turned on him and killed him. Of course, the authorities tracked the bear and killed it when it was just minding its own business out in the wild where it belongs. Maybe we should just go with…”The stupid. It kills.”

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