Nova Scotia

'Like I hit a brick wall': Part of Cabot Trail washed out on man as he drove over it

Davey Fraser says he's lucky to be alive after his vehicle fell around 6 metres after the road washed out.

Davey Fraser works with Parks Canada and was doing traffic control to keep people off the Cabot Trail

Davey Fraser estimates his vehicle fell at least 6 metres when a Cape Breton road washed out as he was driving over it. (Kayla Hounsell/CBC)

A Cape Breton man whose vehicle fell around six metres into a hole when part of the Cabot Trail washed out from underneath him Tuesday says he thought he was going to die.

Davey Fraser works for Parks Canada as a heavy equipment operator and truck driver. On Tuesday, he was just past the entrance to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Broad Cove where he was doing traffic control to prevent people from travelling on the road and was also checking for flooding.

Parts of the Cabot Trail, a 298-kilometre highway loop in northern Cape Breton, are now washed out and closed after heavy rain and winds blasted the province Tuesday.

With visibility poor from the pounding rain, Fraser drove slowly and said he saw some mud, which he believed to be runoff from the shoulder of the road.

"It was almost like I hit a brick wall, but I was down in the hole when I hit," said Fraser. "I didn't even feel the truck drop — I was just going and, 'Bang!'"

Davey Fraser hasn't been back to where the incident happened, but he's seen photos. He estimates his vehicle ended up about 18 metres away from where it was when he was in it. (Eric Woolliscroft/CBC)

Fraser hopped out of the driver's side of the vehicle and estimates the drop was around two metres to the gushing water, mud and asphalt below.

"I said, 'I have to get out of here because this isn't going to stay,'" said Fraser, who managed to climb up to the road on broken asphalt.

Part of the Cabot Trail that washed away underneath a Parks Canada worker who was in a pickup truck at the time. (Kayla Hounsell/CBC)

From there, he phoned his supervisor. In the few minutes it took for the supervisor to arrive, the vehicle washed farther away.

He and his boss were met nearby by paramedics and taken to a paramedic station. Fraser said the paramedics thought he should get X-rayed, but there was no way to get him to hospitals in Baddeck or Sydney because of flooding and road washouts.

Fraser said his chest and ribs are sore and he figures he has a broken nose.

Parts of the Cabot Trail, a 298-kilometre highway loop in northern Cape Breton, are now washed out and closed because of Tuesday's heavy rainfall and wind storm. (Eric Woolliscroft/CBC)

When he got home to Ingonish, he learned his rough day hadn't ended. Fraser's basement was flooding, his roof was leaking and his well had washed away.

The weather station nearest to Ingonish is in Ingonish Beach, which saw 263 millimetres of rain, said CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon.

Fraser said he plans to return to work Monday or Tuesday and chalks what happened up to being one of the duties of the job.

"It will stick in my mind for awhile," he said.

Nova Scotians assess damage after storm

2 months ago
Duration 9:00
Massive amounts of rain washed out roads and flooded basements in the province. Cape Breton and Antigonish bore the brunt of it. 9:00


With files from Kayla Hounsell