An Ottawa woman lost her life in a tragic beach accident on Vancouver Island this long weekend just hours before her daughter was scheduled to wed.
Victoria Emon of Vernon says her mom, Ann Wittenberg, had travelled to B.C. to attend her wedding.
While Emon was preparing for the ceremony near Tofino, her mom and sister Rachel headed to nearby Long Beach when tragedy struck.
“She was so excited to go surfing,” Emon told Global News.
“So they went and Rachel and mom were on the board, they were just talking about how much fun they were having… and then I guess the current got them.”
Wittenberg ended up in the water, but managed to keep Rachel on the board.
A group of nearby surfers rushed to their aid and were able to pull them to shore, but despite CPR and the efforts of paramedics, Wittenberg didn’t survive.
“Everyone was praying for my mom. Rachel said there were hundreds of people,” Emon said.
“They looked after my sister, we are so thankful for everyone that helped and that prayed, and the first responders and just everyone. We’re so thankful.”
Tofino RCMP were unable to immediately provide details on the accident.
The accident happened around 11 a.m., hours before the wedding was set to take place.
Heartsick, Emon carried on with the ceremony in honour of her mother, who she believes would have wanted her to go ahead.
“It was tragic. It was heartbreaking. I just cried and cried and cried,” she said.
“We went ahead with the wedding, and my sister was my maid of honour. My mom was happy about that, she would have been happy about that.
“The sky just opened up, and the sun came out. We looked at the forecast for the last month and it was supposed to be cloudy on our wedding day, and it was so beautiful. It was so beautiful, she was there. She was so excited.”
Emon and her husband Carson are now headed back to Vernon, still grappling with what happened.
She said she wants people to remember what kind of a woman her mother was.
“She was amazing. All she ever wanted to be was a mom,” she said.
“And she had three kids and we all loved her very much. She was amazing, and just so nice and beautiful and perfect.”
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.