Nova Scotia

Cape Breton man dies in suspected drowning at Port Hood Beach

Lifeguards administered oxygen, a defibrillator and CPR, but were unable to save the 59-year-old man.

3 other swimmers rescued from rough surf at Inverness Beach


A 59-year-old man from Sydney has died in a suspected drowning at Port Hood Beach in Cape Breton.

Inverness County RCMP say they were called to the beach just before 2 p.m. on Saturday. 

Paul D'Eon, the director of the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service, said the man was swimming with his wife when two lifeguards observed the couple having difficulty. D'Eon said there was a slight wave, which would not normally concern the lifeguards but could have been overpowering to weak swimmers. 

One of the lifeguards went out to bring the man in. She told D'Eon at first the man was kicking and trying to swim but as she was bringing him in he stopped kicking.

"She tried to talk to him and he was talking, and at some point not making much sense and gasping for air, and she realized something's going on here. That's when he deteriorated," D'Eon said. 

The lifeguards believe that the man went into medical distress before he could be brought to shore. The man was given oxygen, a defibrillator was used on him and lifeguards gave him CPR, but police said he died at the scene.

Another lifeguard reached the man's wife and was able to bring the 64-year-old woman to shore.

Rescue at Inverness Beach

Also on Saturday, lifeguards rescued two people from rough surf at Inverness Beach.

D'Eon said a mother and daughter were swimming and got caught in a current about 250 to 300 metres outside of the supervised area.

Paul D'Eon, the director of the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service, says people should enjoy the surf from the shore when conditions are rough. (Rachel Ward/CBC)

Two lifeguards swam out and helped bring the family to shore.

"This was a fairly tough rescue for them," D'Eon said. "The fitness and the swimming skills certainly came into play."

One of the family members and one of the rescuers received medical attention after swallowing water.

Caution advised

Inverness Beach was closed on Sunday due to strong wind and waves.

D'Eon said a northwest wind in the area has caused dangerous conditions.

"We have lots of sandbars and it creates lots of cross-currents and laterals and rip currents and they're very unpredictable and can be very strong."

He said beachgoers should use caution when there are large waves.

"View it from the shore and enjoy it, but don't risk your life by going in it," said D'Eon.

With files from Melissa Friedman