Paddlers locate the statue of a giant hand that was swept away by a swollen river
Flood watches and advisories have been in effect in Manitoba for the past few weeks, although the location of the statue is downstream from where the Seine River crosses a channel below the river’s floodway. Red. When flows become strong on the Seine, much of the excess water is channeled into the diversion canal, regulating the flow further downstream.
Still, Burchill said the river was higher than usual earlier this week, likely tipping the hand and winning. How far he went was unknown, he said.
Saturday morning, two canoes and two people in open kayaks set off on the Seine in search of him. Burchill said they were about 600 yards downstream, where they spotted the giant hand floating against a downed tree.
“The hand was just above the surface so it was pretty easy to spot but we had to go up a few corners so you wouldn’t have been able to see it from the normal footpaths or from the small number of houses that are along the shore,” Burchill said.
Initially, paddlers thought they could pull the hand to shore and carry her overland, or perhaps hoist her onto one of their canoes and take her home. But Burchill said they quickly discovered he weighed at least a few hundred pounds.
Instead, he said they installed ropes so they could tow it between two dinghies so it wouldn’t be damaged by bumping into the dinghies or trees.
It took about an hour of paddling upstream, but they eventually reached their destination, where the statue’s owner greeted them and they returned it to its normal display position.
“I think just after we left there was a group of people – I hope – walking on the Seine and I think one of their hopes was to see the hand,” Burchill said.
“So we kind of timed it right, to get it back before someone came for it.”
— By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 7, 2022.
The Canadian Press