Nova Scotia

Family on flotation devices rescued off Port Hood Beach

A family of five was saved from an uncertain fate by strangers after their beach inflatables carried them as far as 30 metres from the shore at Port Hood.

Wind carried air mattress and inflatable tubes away from shore

A day at the beach turned into a life-saving event when a family of five using flotation devices was blown offshore and had to be rescued. (Google)

Port Hood Beach on the west coast of Cape Breton is known for its warm and shallow waters, and is a big draw on hot summer days such as those this season.

Shawn Taylor of Lower Sackville, N.S., has visited the area many times.

Out for a bike ride Wednesday evening, he pulled into the provincial day park at the beach.

In minutes, his pleasant evening was transformed into a life-saving mission.

"I was just looking around and I heard some noises, some kids shouting," he recounted. 

"It sounded like they were just playing. I didn't take notice at first, but then I heard 'Help! Help! Help!'"

Family was about 30 metres offshore

He realized the cries were coming from some children drifting about 30 metres offshore on an air mattress and blow-up inner tubes.

In an instant, he was running down the beach to join a woman who had already plunged into the water.

"We swam out and brought the kids and the mother in. There was a mother and four small children who had been pushed offshore by the wind," he said.

"We brought them ashore onto the beach and some of the other people there brought some towels and blankets to keep them warm."

Emergency responders checked out the family, who appeared not to have suffered any long-term effects from their ordeal.

'Mother was pretty well exhausted'

"The mother was pretty well exhausted and she wasn't speaking at that time," remembered Taylor. "She had been fighting, I guess, for some time to get them in.

"The kids came around fairly quickly. In five or 10 minutes, they were up and walking around."

As seems typical in cases of everyday heroics, Taylor said he did what anyone would do in the same situation, and he didn't do it on his own.

"Like I say, there was a woman that helped. She was the first one there, actually. And we had some other folks on the beach that helped pull everybody in once we got into the shallower water. So it was group effort."

With files from Maritime Noon