18-year-old Gatineau woman loses both arms and legs after being electrocuted

Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa

There's an appeal for help for a young Gatineau woman who lost all four of her limbs after a horrific accident early Christmas morning.

18-year-old Sabryna Mongeon hit a hydro pole on a back road on her way to Luskville.  She was electrocuted when she stepped out of her car.

It's a miracle this young woman is alive at all after receiving a powerful jolt of electricity. 

What happened after that initial shock is both heart-breaking and inspiring.

The power lines have been reconnected along Chemin Cregheur.

The telephone line will soon be repaired, too.

If only it were that easy to fix the young woman who slid into the hydro pole Christmas Day, a simple strike that changed 18-year-old Sabryna Mongeon's life forever.

“She lost her left foot right away and after this she passed out,” says Samantha Mongeon. 

Samantha is Sabryna's older sister.  Only 21 years old herself, she's telling her sister's story to raise money for her but raise awareness, too, of the dangers of downed power lines.

“I don't want this to happen to anybody else,” she says.

Sabryna was visiting her mother Christmas Eve in Luskville.  She left late that night to visit friends in Gatineau but after realizing the roads were too bad, she decided to return to her mother’s house.  She missed a 90 degree curve along Chemin Cregheur and Chemin de la Butte and hit the power line. 

Jacques Chapeleau works on a farm near by and saw police and fire trucks early Christmas morning, “It's not the first time people have slipped off the road here,” he says, “People drive too fast or miss the curve but it's the first time, really, that someone hit and broke the hydro post.”

Mongeon not only broke the post but snapped the electrical wire.  Fearing a fire inside her car, Sabryna stepped out.

“When she went to get out of the car, she didn't see the wire,” says her sister, “and she was electrocuted.”

Samantha says Sabryna immediately lost her left foot. She says her sister passed out for some time in the bitter cold, waking up at points and trying to get into her car.  It wasn't until a Good Samaritan saw the vehicle, some 4 hours later, that help was finally on the way.  He called 9-1-1, then held Samantha close, trying to warm her up.

But by that time, frostbite and burns had already destroyed her other foot and both arms.  She had all four amputated and is in a medically-induced coma in Montreal with her parents at her side.

“As a mother,” says Margaret Little, who lives down the road from where the accident happened, “I can't imagine it happening to my daughter who's the same age.”

If it does, experts advice drivers to stay inside their car and call for emergency help.  If a fire starts in the vehicle and they must get out, they have to hop out of the car, feet together without touching the car at the same time as they touch the ground to avoid being electrocuted.  The risk of electrocution is based on one part of the body touching an energized object like a car while touching the ground at the same time.  Then, to put distance between you and the car, you must shuffle, feet touching and together, at least 30 feet from the vehicle.

For now, Samantha's focus is on her sister and her fundraiser that is generating an outpouring of support and love.

“When she wakes up, I am going to read all the beautiful messages people have sent,” she says, “I think that's going to help her very, very much.”

Sadly, there is more bad news for this young woman.  The amputation on her left arm didn't stabilize her condition.  Samantha says they're operating tomorrow to remove even more of that arm.  The fundraiser has so far generated more than $62,000 of its $100,000 goal.  Details are at https://www.onedollargift.com/us/Reve-Grave-accident-de-la-route...-26542