Nova Scotia

Peggys Cove life-saving equipment needed, says Jamie Quattrocchi's mother

The mother of a 25-year-old Ontario man who died after he was swept into the water at Peggys Cove last week says life-saving equipment could have saved her son’s life and should be installed at the rocks.

Caroline Quattrocchi says son was not a risk taker; was on holiday with girlfriend of 10 years

James Donald Quattrocchi of Smiths Falls, Ont., died Wednesday after he was swept into the water at Peggys Cove. (Facebook)

The mother of a 25-year-old Smiths Falls, Ont., man who died after he was swept into the water at Peggys Cove last week says life-saving equipment could have saved her son's life and should be installed at the rocks.

Caroline Quattrocchi says her son Jamie had driven to Nova Scotia earlier in the week with Brittany Smith, his girlfriend of 10 years. On Wednesday, they headed out to Peggys Cove.

Quattrocchi was admiring the beauty of the place and went up further on the rocks with a GoPro camera on his head and waterproof camera on his wrist to get some more shots, his mother said.

Her son was not a risk taker, she said, and the sea was calm. But then, a large wave crashed in and Quattrocchi stumbled and began to back up. A second wave hit, dragging him into the ocean.

"Brittany began to scream and wave her arms frantically," Caroline Quattrocchi told CBC's Maritime Noon.

She said Smith told her a young girl ran to the nearby Sou'Wester restaurant where staff called for help. But by the time it arrived, Smith had lost sight of Jamie.  

'Horrific memories'

His body has not been recovered.

"In speaking with Brittany about her horrific memories that she has to live with every time she closes her eyes, she says the only thing that would have made a difference was being able to throw Jamie something," Quattrochi said.  

The next day, Quattrocchi travelled to Nova Scotia to see where her son died and to "bring Jamie back in our hearts."

When she arrived, she saw the signs in the parking lot warning of the danger. But she said people need that notion reinforced.

Life-saving equipment, such as lifebuoys attached to ropes anchored to the shore, could not only be used in a rescue, but would deter people from getting too close, she said.

"Those visual reminders of lives lost right there by the water may make it so that they don't even have to be used," Quattrocchi said. "But if they did, at least they were there."  

She said in making funeral arrangement for her son, the family considered asking for donations to causes he loved, such as animals and sports. But she says improving safety at Peggys Cove was the only thing that brought a "glimmer" to the eyes of Quattrocchi's girlfriend.

"She's so happy we might be able to do something that could turn this tragedy into something good and prevent other families and other loved ones from having to go through what we're going through right now," she said.

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