Airlifted hikers from Cape Chignecto park knew of dangers: DNR

The Department of Natural Resources says all day-use hikers in Cape Chignecto Provincial Park are made aware of the risks the tide poses, including a couple who was rescued, but the pilot who rescued them says they were somewhat prepared.

Pregnant woman, man and furry friend plucked from beach during rising tide

A map of the Cape Chignecto Provincial Park from the Nova Scotia government's park website. The park was the scene of a helicopter rescue on Thursday. (

The Department of Natural Resources says all day-use hikers in Cape Chignecto Provincial Park are made aware of the risks the tide poses, including a couple who was rescued.

The response comes after a woman, a man and their dog had a close call Thursday in the park, located about 40 kilometres north of Greenwood.

RCMP Cpl. Scott MacRae said the pair was hiking with their dog along the shoreline between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. when they became trapped by the rising tide. 

When they realized they were in trouble, they called 911 for help.

"Luckily they did have the cellphone to make the call," said MacRae.

He said the woman is pregnant and was unable to swim. The woman, the man and the dog were each picked up and taken to a safe point on land.

"[It was a] little scary ordeal for them, but for the better part, they're OK and will have something to talk about when they return home," MacRae said.

Sean Ritchie, with the Department of National Defence, said a Cormorant helicopter was dispatched from the airbase in Greenwood.

No one was injured.

Hikers warned about tides

Bruce Nunn, a DNR spokesman, said the dangers associated with tides in the area are clearly communicated to registered day-use hikers, including the couple.

"All registered hikers are given an extensive educational orientation on hiking safety, including tidal times and speeds, cell coverage capacity, areas to avoid, where beach staircases are located, as well as hydration, sunscreen, trail safety tips, etc.," Nunn said.

"There is a large white board at the main park visitor building explaining the tide risks and showing the daily tidal times."

Nunn noted the rescue happened after the park was closed, which means staff weren't aware that there was a problem.

Calm during rescue

Capt. Alexandre Sarazin with the Royal Canadian Air Force was piloting the rescue helicopter and says the couple was definitely in trouble when he arrived.

"We saw the two people and their dog on the small beach that was basically closed in by the rising tide and those people had nowhere to go from there," he said.

He credits the hikers for making the rescue easy.

"Those people were still somewhat prepared," Sarazin said. "They had a cellphone and they were calm when we got there and I think they had some basic equipment with them, so they actually made the rescue fairly easy.

"Sometimes people are not as prepared and when we get there it's unfortunately too late. In this specific case things actually unfolded pretty well."

Being stranded not uncommon

MacRae said being stranded in the Cape Chignecto area is not an uncommon problem.

"These tides come in fairly quickly. I worked in an area around Cape Chignecto park. The tides come in very fast. These two people certainly weren’t the first people to get into this situation," he said.

MacRae advises the public to be aware of their surroundings, know what time of day it is, have a charged cell phone, and be aware of the tides.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.