Canadian bride Maria Pantazopoulos has drowned during a photoshoot as she posed in her wedding dress in water at a Quebec park.
Real estate agent Maria Pantazopoulos, 30, drowned after her dress got wet and she was dragged into the river near a “violently” rushing waterfall in Canada.
Friends said she had been taking part in an increasingly popular ritual called “Trash the Dress”, in which brides pose for pictures while playfully destroying their wedding gowns.
Maria Pantazopoulos slipped and fell into the Ouareau River near Dorwin Falls, north of Montreal, on Friday afternoon. Her body was found about two and a half hours later.
The newly-wed yelled: “I’m slipping, I’m slipping, I’m slipping,” before falling off the rock she was perched on for her wedding pictures, according to CBC.
Maria Pantazopoulos had commissioned the shoot following her June 9 wedding.
Family friend Leeza Pousoulidis said: “She’s a really fun girl, and she just didn’t want her wedding dress sitting in a box in the closet.
“She said: <<I want to have fun with my wedding dress. I want to have great pictures and memories of me in my wedding dress>>.”
Leeza Pousoulidis said her friend was “a strong, tough girl”.
“She was very petite, but she was strong in character and in physical strength as well,” Leeza Pousoulidis told the Montreal Gazette.
“She was very happy and caring. She had a big heart.”
Maria Pantazopoulos slipped while she was being photographed by Louis Pagakis, who told CTV Montreal that he did everything he could to save her.
“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.”
Quebec provincial police spokesman Sgt. Ronald McInnis described the site as being elevated and rocky, with water “violently” rushing below.
“She was doing the photo shoot in about six inches or one foot of water when part of her wedding dress got soaked and became extremely heavy,” Ronald McInnis said.
“She started slipping and falling down when the photographer grabbed her but she was too heavy that he couldn’t pull her from the edge.
“Another person tried to grab her but also was unable to save her from falling into the river.”
Ronald McInnis said Maria Pantazopoulos, from Laval, a small Island north of Montreal, was found 100 feet from where she fell by a private diver who knows the river and volunteered to help with the search.
The diver pulled the young woman’s body from an area of the river which was 20 feet deep.
“She had sunk to the bottom,” Ronald McInnis said.
Two witnesses, believed to be the photographer and an assistant, were hospitalized for extreme shock.
Ronald McInnis said the bride’s husband was not present for the photo-shoot and neither were any family members.
However, her cousins and her brother went to the site when they heard that she had fallen.
“It’s horrible,” Ronald McInnis said.
“This is the first time I’ve heard of a story like that. I told my partner, this is a story that is going to go all around the world.”
Maria Pantazopoulos wanted the fun photos taken at the falls, perched on the rocks in her gown, Marco Michaud, a colleague of the photographer taking the pictures told CBC.
She chose the beautiful site, located near the small city of Rawdon, as the backdrop.
Maria Pantazopoulos’s family has declined to speak to the media.