A 12-year-old boy was shocked after catching a rifle gun while he was magnet fishing in an Ottawa creek earlier in May.
Just before darkness fell on the evening of May 10, Nathan Sirois landed on something heavy after about five throws.
Sirois and his mother, Mélanie Baron, thought it might have been an old shopping cart or a trashed bike. When they started pulling harder, they saw more details of the object and noticed they had found a long-barreled rifle.
"I think we were both caught so off guard," Baron tells Narcity. "We just thought we were bringing up a branch or something like that, but then we saw the butt of the gun."
The gun dropped back into the water before the mother and son could retrieve it. After about an hour of trying to relocate the rifle, Sirois' fishing magnet got stuck on something else.
That's when darkness set in at around 9 p.m., and the pair promised each other that they would call the police in the morning.
Sirois took up magnet fishing two years ago, a hobby he does to uncover hidden metal objects, usually screws or metal cans. He also collects whatever he finds in a bucket to later discard for environmental conservation.
It was the first time the mother-son duo searched in Green's Creek, which flows under the Sir Georges Etienne Cartier Parkway in Ottawa. It is an area of the creek that flows into the Ottawa River. The pair had never found any weapons before May 10.
"We see it on YouTube all the time, but it's never something that you think that you're gonna come across yourself," Baron says. From watching YouTube videos on magnet fishing, the mother-son pair learned to call the police.
Two days later, on May 13, police arrived at the creek and pulled the gun from the waters after a 30-minute search. The Ottawa Police Service posted a video of the marine unit diving into the dark water under the bridge.
A first for the Ottawa Police Service diver
"This was a first for me," says constable Caroline Gallant, a diver for the marine, dive, and trail unit of the Ottawa Police Service, who located the rifle. She has served on the unit on and off for three years and has been on it full-time for a year.
Typically, her unit searches for evidence relating to crimes and victims who have died from drowning. Sirois magnet fishing find was not business as usual.
"It was definitely a first in terms of somebody magnet fishing. So, it was definitely I think a fun find for everybody."
Because of Ottawa's murky waters, she searched for the gun by hand and swept from left to right in the middle of the section under the bridge.
"You couldn't see anything, so I don't know what it was actually stuck on. It could have been an even better treasure, but we managed to get his magnet back for him."
"The family did the right thing calling us," Gallant told Narcity.
For future magnet fishing adventures, Sirois and Baron say they will be searching in less murky waters.
"Just something where you can, kind of, see more. Maybe along a beach or something like that," Baron says.