According to French media outlet RDS, Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron was out fishing with brother-in-law Neal Leblond, his father-in-law Jean Leblond and a family friend at the Les Sables reservoir in Quebec, Canada, on Saturday morning, when a seaplane crashed just a few feet from where they were fishing.
According to Neal LeBlond’s testimony, the hydroplane would have violently swung towards the lake at the moment of the crash. This caused the plane to sink backwards into the water.
Paul Byron participait à une partie de pêche avec son beau-frère Neal Leblond, son beau-père Jean Leblond et un ami de la famille, Jonathan Legault, quand l’hydravion piloté par un homme s’est écrasé à quelques mètres d’eux. 😱https://t.co/9GCOWFUJzj pic.twitter.com/HuxUrn4aIa
— RDS (@RDSca) July 24, 2022
According to Leblond, Serge Labelle, who was riding a personal watercraft on the lake at the same time, was the first to rescue the pilot, before Byron and Leblond quickly joined in the rescue operation.
“Paul jumped into the water before me,” says Neal Leblond. There was metal everywhere, gas, the engine was hot. Paul took charge of the man. We risked our lives going into the water.”
The group then secured the pilot to bring him back to shore where authorities could be contacted.
Byron confirmed to RDS the version of the facts, but he preferred not to comment on the events out of respect for the injured pilot and his family.
Leblond also wanted to pay tribute to Serge Labelle, who he says is “the real hero” of this rescue operation. Mr. Labelle, who is a regular at the place, was able to unfasten the injured pilot’s seatbelt before getting him out of the cockpit.
By Jon Sorensen