A Moncton-area man says he was one of five surfers who ran into trouble Wednesday morning while riding a so-called super bore on the Petitcodiac River — and is blaming municipal and provincial officials.
Daniel Leblanc, who is also a former Petitcodiac riverkeeper, says the surfers were hit by a surprise wave he believes was caused by the provincial government reopening the causeway gates upstream after workers completed some survey work.
Leblanc and another surfer had just landed on the Moncton riverbank when the gush of water and subsequent wave occurred.
But the other three surfers — two from Halifax and one from Moncton — were hit by the wave coming in the opposite direction at "full speed," said Leblanc.
"During a 10-minute period, the three surfers were caught in a series of whirling currents provoked by the collision of the super bore and the opposing currents," he said in a statement.
"After some time they managed to break free and make it to shore safe and sound," he said.
Leblanc is calling for a thorough investigation to avoid a repeat incident.
He says the city knew about the causeway gates being closed earlier that morning for the provincial workers to conduct depth testing work at the former headpond reservoir, about five kilometres upstream in Riverview, but did not issue any warnings to the public.
The former reservoir, which is 21 kilometres long, was filled to near capacity when the gates were reopened, he said.
The Department of Supply and Services contends it had the authority to proceed under the monitoring program of the Petitcodiac Restoration Project, Leblanc said.