A Hamilton, Ont. paramedic died suddenly while riding a jet ski at a cottage in the U.S. this weekend, her family says.
According to the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, emergency crews received a 911 call on Saturday reporting an incident in Lake Ontario in the upstate New York town of Wilson.
Police said when they arrived they tried to resuscitate a 32-year-old woman, who was later identified as Ria Vannoort.
She was then transported to hospital but was pronounced dead, police said.
“Initial investigation by deputies at the scene revealed that Vannoort, who was attending a party at the residence, was operating a personal watercraft just offshore,” police said. “Attendees of the party noticed that Vannoort had become dismounted from the watercraft and was floating in the lake. Vannoort was then loaded onto a second vessel and brought back to shore by the other attendees.”
Vannoort’s partner, Kyle, told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday they were at the cottage with friends and family, who haven’t seen each other since before the pandemic, when the incident occurred.
He said he believes she suffered some type of medical incident while on board the jet ski.
“It was a sudden medical incident but we’re not 100 per cent sure yet what happened,” he said.
He described his partner as “super caring,” adding that their six-year-old daughter and her career as a paramedic were everything to her.
“She loved helping people and love being a paramedic. Her little girl was her whole world.”
Vannoort said the family has launched a GoFundMe page to help cover any additional costs since the death occurred in the U.S. He said any additional money will go into a trust fund for their daughter.
A spokesperson for Hamilton Paramedic Service told CTV News Toronto they are mourning the loss of Vannoort who was “kind, caring, and compassionate.”
“First and foremost, Hamilton Paramedic Service (HPS) would like to send our deepest condolences to Ria’s family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time as they mourn Ria,” Supt. Dave Thompson said in a statement.
“Ria … represented the service and the profession proudly.”
An investigation into the death is ongoing, authorities said.