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Timmins boy, 9, recovering from Sea-Doo crash, charges pending

Kaiden Bouchard of Timmins may be one of the toughest nine-year-olds in northern Ontario after a devastating crash while driving a Sea-Doo watercraft.

His mom, Amanda Ratte, said he’s recovering remarkably well from what she describes as a world-shattering ordeal in early July that left Kaiden fighting to regain his health.

Kaiden Bouchard, a 9-year-old from Timmins is recovering from a Sea-Doo crash. (Supplied)

It started with the boy behind the wheel of a personal watercraft at Kamiskotia Lake, when he hit a boat that he hadn't seen close to the shoreline.

A neighbour called Amanda in a panic but had little information.

"Getting a phone call and not knowing the situation that your son was in and not being able to physically see him, my mind was on a total other planet," Ratte said.

"I feared for my life, as well as his, and once I saw him, I couldn't believe that something like this could have happened."

Kaiden was rushed to Timmins and District Hospital with a heavily fractured right femur, skin lacerations to his leg and face, major injuries to his mouth and vocal cords and damage to his left hand.

Amanda said two medics who happened to live nearby came to Kaiden’s aid and helped control blood flow until EMS arrived, likely saving his leg.

The boy said he has no memory of what happened.

"All I remember is getting onto the Sea-Doo and then I didn't remember until I was two weeks into the hospital," Kaiden said.

The long road to recovery started with seven surgeries, two blood transfusions and about a month-long stay at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.

His mom was with him the whole time. They returned home in early August and have been attending weekly appointments at physiotherapy, counselling and his doctor to get Kaiden back to full strength.

Amanda said the ordeal brought a financial hit, including dental and medical bills, travel, hotels, and both parents taking time off work to be by Kaiden's side.

A GoFundMe campaign and community donations saw more than $25,000 support the family's journey.

"It has not been easy," Amanda said in tears.

"Just for our community to come together for Kaiden has been really amazing."


Amanda said she’s grateful for the outpouring of support and hopes that people will take a lesson away from this awful experience.

Kaiden should have never been allowed to drive a watercraft, she said, and charges are pending for the adult who gave him the key.

"It takes one time," Amanda said.

"He's very lucky to be alive."

In Ontario, children under the age of 12 are allowed to operate a recreational vessel with up to 10 hp without supervision.

Depending on the model, Sea-Doos range between 60-300 hp, which requires an operator age 16 or older.

Amanda said the family can’t fathom stepping foot on a watercraft again. She sold her two Sea-Doos, even though they weren't involved in the crash.

She said Kaiden's been determined to make a full recovery. He uses crutches and a wheelchair but walks as much as his muscles can tolerate.

His physiotherapist hinted that Kaiden may be able to start skating again this winter, Amanda said, which he's excited about since having to give up hockey.


Kaiden’s back at school part-time.

"When I go to school, I see a bunch of people walking, running, having fun, but I can't do it," he said.

"That's the toughest part."

Kaiden said his teachers and classmates have been supportive.

Many of his peers are curious about his condition and enjoy pushing his wheelchair, which he said is fun but that the attention can be overwhelming.

When asked what makes him happy right now and what uplifts him, an emotional Kaiden said, "That my recovery is going good. I'm doing it for my friends and my family."

Meantime, they're taking things day by day, she said, and are focusing on healing both physically and emotionally.

The hope, Amanda said, is that Kaiden will once again be able to play a game of hockey or soccer -- his other favourite sport -- run around with his friends at school and put this experience behind him.

For now, she said his doctor has given him the all-clear to play video games as much as he wants since they said it’s actually helpful for his dexterity.


Last year, an 11-year-old boy from Sudbury was killed after two boats collided on Meteor Lake and now, two men have been charged with careless operation of a vessel and face fines of up to $10,000.

11-year-old Riley Salemink has been identified as the victim of the fatal boat crash on Meteor Lake on Sept. 4. (Supplied)

This summer, three children were killed in ATV crashes in the northeast.

A five-year-old girl was killed in July while riding with her mother and brother, with only the boy surviving. 

Michelle, 42, and Heidi, 5, Bader-Shaw were killed in an ATV crash east of Parry Sound in July. (Skwarchuk Funeral Homes and Low & Low Limited)

Less than two weeks later, a father and son from Timmins were killed in a head-on crash with a pickup truck.

Father and son, Alain and Ryder Dion, were killed in an ATV crash with a pickup Truck in northern Ontario Monday. (Supplied)

In August, a 10-year-old girl was killed in an ATV rollover east of Sault Ste. Marie while a second person on the vehicle survived. Top Stories

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