Nova Scotia

Peggys Cove disaster averted after man falls in the water

A tourist boat saved an Ontario man's life after he fell into the water at Peggys Cove on Thursday afternoon.

Owners of Sou'Wester restaurant, Peggys Cove Boat Tours sprung into action

Police quickly got on the scene to help after a local captain rescued a tourist from choppy water at Peggys Cove. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

A tourist boat saved an Ontario man's life after he fell into the water at Peggys Cove on Thursday afternoon.  

Nova Scotia RCMP got a call at 4:35 p.m. that a 26-year-old man had been swept into the water while walking with friends at the popular tourists' destination. 

"He was conscious in the water and fortunately for him, there was a tour boat in the water," said Cpl. D.L. Allen.

The boat swung into action and hauled him out of the water about 12 metres from shore. The crew brought him safely to shore, where firefighters were waiting to help.

Another Ontario man died in April after a similar accident. Local business owners ensured that didn't happen today.

How the rescue unfolded

John Campbell, owner of the Sou'Wester restaurant at Peggys Cove, sprinted down the road as soon as he heard a person had gone in the water. He found Peter Richardson, owner of Peggys Cove Boat Tours, and told him.

"We headed right out," said Richardson, who's also a captain. "I knew how rough it was out there and I was worried we were going to find a body." 

Peter Richardson and his crew pulled the man out of the choppy water. (CBC)

Richardson got to the man within minutes and pulled him out of the choppy water. "The guy was out treading water on his back. He knew what he was doing," he said. 

"It seemed like a long time, but we had him aboard the boat within five minutes. He was in the water for about 15 minutes in total."

He figures another five minutes and hypothermia would have set in, decreasing the chances of a rescue.

Richardson downplayed his heroics, saying he and his crew just did what they're trained to do. He and his crew brought the cold and shaking man to shore, where waiting firefighters began treating him.

"It was scary. We didn't go out today because it was too choppy," an emotional Richardson said of the near disaster. "When you're dealing with life, it's not a good thing. He's probably very scared."

It's the first time Richardson rescued someone. But in 1999, he helped recover bodies from the water after the crash of Swissair Flight 111.

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