Nova Scotia

Responders want more warning signs on Cape Split trail

A deputy chief with the Canning Volunteer Fire Department wants to see more warning signs on the trail that leads to Cape Split, N.S., after a woman was rescued off the side of a cliff on Saturday.

Ignoring the rules can lead to 'tragic results,' says deputy fire chief

Cape Split is a popular hiking destination, but the cliffs have proven dangerous for hikers. (Elizabeth McMillan/CBC)

Members of the local fire department near Cape Split, N.S., say more warning signs are needed on the trail that leads to the viewing area at the popular location.

A woman remains in hospital after she fell partway down the cliff on Saturday.

"I think the rescue on Saturday took our rescuer over an hour to get to the patient safely and secure them," said Jeff Skaling, deputy chief of the Canning Volunteer Fire Department.

The woman suffered serious injuries.

Rescue teams repeatedly called

  Rescue teams have been called numerous times to rescue both people and dogs who were in big trouble at Cape Split. The latest incident saw the woman try to rescue her two dogs who fell partway down the cliff.

  But she fell down the cliff herself and was left injured and clinging to life over the waters of the Bay of Fundy. (The dogs survived.)

  Skaling says more signage is needed to remind people just how dangerous the area can be.

"Out here, forgetting the rules or ignoring the rules can unfortunately lead to some tragic results," said Skaling. "This was a fortunate result that this individual survived."

Disagreements over signage

There is a sign at the beginning of the trail to Cape Split, but there are none along the trail or at the end of the trail where the cliff drops down to the water below. 

People using the trail to get to Cape Split on Tuesday morning had differing opinions on more signs.

  "A lot of people would say you are taking some of the experience away if you littered the trail with constant warning signs," said John Leduc.

  "For somebody that maybe doesn't know the trail and know the risks, maybe they haven't done it or they're not from this area, then I would recommend signage on the way up," said Bylinda Whiting.

Dangerous for responders

Skaling says it's a very dangerous job for the rescue team to go down the cliff.

It also takes several hours for rescue operations to unfold at the remote location.

"The trail is rough enough that going on all-terrain vehicles, with the gear we have to carry, we have to go pretty slow," said Skaling. "You're looking at almost two hours before any rescue personnel can make it out to the Split."

  The perilous rescue was executed by the Kings County Rope and Rescue team working with search and rescue personnel from CFB Greenwood.

"You're hanging over a 275-foot cliff [about 84 metres] that's actively eroding, rocks are falling and in this case there was a lot of debris on the cliff face, so it wasn't perfectly vertical all the way down," said Skaling.

RCMP were at the scene on Saturday along with firefighters, paramedics, a ground search and rescue team, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre and a helicopter. (Natalie Bresnahan/Twitter)

The injured woman was lowered to a waiting rescue boat at the bottom of the cliff.

  She was then rushed to a nearby ambulance at the Scots Bay wharf.

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