A Yarmouth County man has died after his boat capsized Friday afternoon while he was trying to help people that appeared to be stranded on an island off Melbourne, N.S.

The 67-year-old man's boat ran into mechanical problems not far from the shore, RCMP said.

He was pulled from the water shortly after 4 p.m., and later died in hospital.

The incident took place at the end of William Allen Road where there are several small islands, RCMP Cpl. Andrew Joyce said.

The people on the island appeared to be stranded while digging for shellfish.

It's not clear if they were indeed stranded or if the man who attempted the rescue simply thought they were, police said.

"My understanding is that members of the Lake Vaughn Volunteer Fire Department were able to rescue the original boaters," said Joyce.

Those people were taken to shore and weren't injured. 

'It's going to be a very sad day in our area'

The man who died was well known in the community.

CBC News is not naming him pending the notification of his next of kin. 

Daniel Allen is a councillor in the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth, and knew the deceased man for 35 years.  

"Very shocked, very shocked. My understanding is that he was helping some other people so that doesn't surprise me."  

Allen said the man took part in all kinds of community activities and helped run Pinkney's Point Wharf.    

"He wasn't a shy man, he seemed to get along with everyone and he was a big member of our community and we're going to miss him and our condolences really go out to the family."   

"It's going to be a very sad day in our area, he's going to be missed by a lot of people."