By Benjamin Fearnow

RAWDON, Que. – A newlywed was getting one final photo shoot in her wedding dress.

It would be her last.

Rescue teams recovered the body of newlywed realtor Maria Pantazopoulos, 30, Friday after the bride was swept away and drowned in the current near Dorwin Falls in Rawdon, according to CTV News.

Pantazopoulos was dipping her toes into the water to pose but the dress became heavy when wet and the current pulled her to the bottom of the deep, eight-meter section of the lake.

“The photographer put down his equipment and tried to save her. He grabbed her with his hands,” Sgt. Ronald McInnis, provincial police spokesman, told the Montreal Gazette. “(One witness) tried to help, but they couldn’t save her.”

The photo shoot was part of an increasingly-popular rite of passage known as trash the dress, in which artistic photos are taken of the wedding gown being destroyed. The ritual was meant as a joyous celebration of having found her partner for life.

Photographer Louis Pagakis said that Pantazopoulos was small of stature, weighing around 100 pounds, and although she could swim, she was quickly overwhelmed.

“I jumped in, I was screaming and yelling, we tried our best,” Pagakis told CTV News.

The incident occurred at around 2 p.m. and rescue teams recovered her body shortly before 6 p.m.

The two witnesses were treated at hospital for shock.

Another photographer named Mario Michaud told CTV Montreal that he narrowly avoided a similar mishap in a photo-shoot at the same spot in May. In that case, however, the woman was saved.

One experienced diver from the region told CTV Montreal that the current is deceptively strong, as those who venture into the waters quickly find out.

Those who have drowned in recent years near Rawdon have included a 14-year-old boy who died in June 2005, while several others drowned in the area in the mid-1990s.

Rawdon is a town of around 10,000 residents, about 50 miles north of Montreal.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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