A Saint John Harbour fisherman is being credited for the dramatic rescue of a kayaker at the Reversing Falls on Tuesday.
The paddler, who is from Perth-Andover, was going through the eddies during the lunch hour when his small blue kayak overturned.
Joy Sanzone, of New Jersey, was one of a handful of tourists who were enjoying watching the kayaker manoeuvre the rough waters when he capsized.
"He was screaming, having a good time and we were watching him, keeping an eye on him to see how he got through the rapids here and suddenly he got sucked into a whirlpool and was screaming for help, screaming for people to call 911," Sanzone told CBC News.
That was when a fisherman in a small open boat arrived at the scene, said her husband, Paul Sanzone, who was struck by how skillful and calm the fisherman seemed while operating his boat in the whirlpool.
"He just navigated up the river and stuck his oar out to let the guy latch onto it and pulled him into the boat and got him in there," he said.
'He survived 'er, hopefully he learned something from it maybe.'—Fisherman Joe Osborne, rescuer
"I was on the phone with 911 at the same time, I was telling the lady what was going on."
The fisherman, Joe Osborne, who was stringing a gaspereau net across the river within 15 minutes of the rescue, says he has about six decades of experience on the water.
He was working on a wharf downstream from the kayaker at Riverview Drive when he heard the cries for help, he said.
"Just got a hold of his life jacket there and he got his hand up on the gunnel there, no problem," said Osborne.
"He survived 'er, hopefully he learned something from it maybe," he said.
The kayaker, who has not been identified, was transferred to a Coast Guard vessel and later examined by paramedics. He was uninjured and did not require any medical treatment.
The Reversing Falls are a series of rapids on the St. John River.
During low tide, the river rushes through the narrow gorge into the Bay of Fundy. An underwater ledge, about 10 metres below the surface, causes the water in the river to tumble downward into a 60-metre-deep pool near the Reversing Falls bridge, causing the whirlpools.
Boats normally navigate the falls during slack tide, when the bay tides begin to rise again and river's flow is calm.