It was supposed to be a moment of fun: A young woman wanting to recapture her wedding day, commissioned a photo shoot in a picturesque location to take shots for a “trash the dress” photo series.
But as 30-year-old Maria Pantazopoulo, who was married on June 5, waded into the water into a river near Dorwin Falls in Rawdon, Quebec, at around 2 p.m on Friday, her wedding dress became soaked and dragged her under.
“I can’t anymore, it’s too heavy,” were Pantazopoulo’s last chilling words.
Louis Pagakis, her photographer, was taking some shots near the edge of the river when Pantazopoulos said she wanted to go in.
“At one point, she told him, ‘I want you to take some photos of me floating in the water,’” Anouk Benzacar, the photographer’s wife and a friend of the bride, told Canada’s QMI Agency.
“She had her wedding dress on and she said, “take some pictures of me while I swim a little bit in the lake,”‘ he said. “She went in and her dress got heavy, I tried everything I could to save her.”
Benzacar recounted the horror at what was unfolding, saying: “She was screaming and scratching and trying to stay above water, Benzacar said. ‘[Louis] tried to swim with her, but she was pulling him down. She was too heavy. He couldn’t breathe anymore.”
The real estate agent was eventually swept away by the current and her body was found hours later.
Her husband, Billy, wasn’t there for the shoot and her family have so far refused to speak to the media, but are understandably said to be ”destroyed”.
The couple had recently purchased a home together and been talking about starting a family.
Mario Michaud, a wedding photographer in Montreal, told CTV that a bride he photographed at the river in May nearly suffered the same fate.
“Brides think they are going to get a beautiful picture, but they don’t realize how heavy a wet wedding dress can be,” he said.