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?