Nova Scotia

2 men dead after boat overturns on remote Digby County lake

Two Digby County men are dead after a boat overturned in a remote part of the Sissiboo Grand Lake area on Friday night.

Third man swam to shore to call for help

Two men have died in a boating accident in Digby County. (CBC)

Two Digby County men are dead after a boating incident in the Sissiboo Grand Lake area on Friday.

Digby RCMP were called to an overturned boat in the area, on Second Lake, just before 7 p.m., according to a news release from police.

Police, EHS, Fire, and Ground Search and Rescue all responded to the call in the remote area, about 20 kilometres south of Sissiboo Road.

Three men had been fishing in a 12-foot aluminum boat and started having problems with the motor. When they tried to fix the problem, the boat overturned and the men ended up in the water.

The men were fishing on Second Lake in the Sissiboo Grand Lake area. (Google Maps)

One man swam to shore and walked to an area with cell service to report the incident.

Andrew Cranton, fire chief with Annapolis Royal Volunteer Fire Department, said the cell service in the area is "very, very spotty" and his team's mobile radio system didn't function well either once they entered the remote area.

He estimates the man who swam to shore would have needed to walk about eight kilometres to be able to call police.

The other two men, ages 49 and 56, were found unresponsive in the water by fire crews sometime before 10 p.m. They were both wearing life-jackets, the release said. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.

The men were found about 10 minutes apart, according to Cranton.

He said crews had a good idea where to search and there was no wind and calm waters. The first body was found within 15 minutes of crews getting to the lake, he said.

"It's a tragic start to Easter weekend. The best outcome that we could possibly hope for was to bring the families some closure," he said.

Police are investigating the cause of death, but criminality is not suspected.

Ben Cleveland, the mayor of the Municipality of Digby, said people in the community are "reeling" from the loss of these two men, which comes just months after a scallop dragger disappeared in the Bay of Fundy. The body of one of the six crew members of the scallop dragger was found but the others were not.

"It is quite tragic," he said. "Some people are still recovering from the loss of the [scallop] fishermen."