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Gas can saves woman

A Canadian mother clung to a gasoline can last Saturday night and survived for several hours in the Mackenzie River, near Fort Good Hope in the Northwest Territories, after the boat she was on with three relatives capsized.

The woman, who is 34, was aboard a small powerboat with her god-brother and two cousins when the water became rough and the boat capsized at about 2 a.m., Canada’s Edmonton Sun newspaper reported. Once in the water the god-brother apparently passed the woman the gas can for her to float on.

“He said, ‘Try to get to shore. Just think about your daughters,’” the woman, who has two daughters, says in the news report.

The mother held onto the gas can and swam for what she thinks was about three hours until she made it to shore. “I just kept praying and trying to get to shore. … The waves were huge, but I hung in there,” she says in the report. “I wasn’t ready to go.”

On land the woman fashioned a bed and blanket out of willows she gathered, according to the report. She spent the rest of the night there and flagged down boaters the following afternoon for help.

The woman was taken to an area hospital where she was treated for second-degree chemical burns to her torso and right arm doctors say she sustained from gasoline that leaked from the canister, the report says. Authorities called off their search for the woman’s relatives Tuesday. The three men are presumed to have drowned.

— Jason Fell