PEI

Boy recovering at IWK after rock falls on him at P.E.I. beach

Ten-year-old Quintin Ketchabaw from Tillsonburg, ON, is recovering at IWK in Halifax after rock fell on his legs during visit to Thunder Cove Beach on P.E.I.

'I was scared because I didn't know if they were going to get the rock off of me'

Quintin Ketchabaw recovering at the IWK hospital in Halifax. (Submitted by Charlene Brown)

Ten-year-old Quintin Ketchabaw was visiting Prince Edward Island last week with his family from Ontario when a falling rock cut their vacation short and pinned him to the ground.

"It really, really, really hurt," Quintin said.

"I was scared because I didn't know if they were going to get the rock off of me."

July 7 had been the first day for the family's vacation on P.E.I. and it turned into the last.

The extended family, including Quintin's grandmother, and four siblings, had decided to visit the iconic Island sandstone structure called Teacup Rock by Thunder Cove Beach on P.E.I.'s north shore.

The sandstone rocks that make up the cliffs along stretches of P.E.I.'s coastline are fragile and susceptible to ongoing erosion.

But Quintin's family said they didn't realize that at the time.

The family had just arrived and was getting ready to be in a picture together along the cliffs nearby Teacup Rock.

Quintin Ketchabaw was pinned by a rock from the cliff near Teacup Rock. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

"My husband had the kids all ready to go lining up for a picture," said Charlene Brown, Quintin's mother. "Quintin turned and grabbed the rock, as far as we understand, and a big chunk of the rock fell from the side of the wall and landed on his legs."

"We had thought he had just tripped or whatever and then he started screaming, 'My legs, my legs'."

They were able to slide Quintin out from underneath the rock and carry him further down the beach.

Teacup Rock by Thunder Cove Beach is a popular spot for visitors to P.E.I. (John Robertson/CBC)

As chance would have it, they were met by some off-duty paramedics.

"One hundred per cent lucky because we would have not known what to do, to be completely honest with you," Brown said.

"They didn't have anything with them or anything, they just obviously had their medical training."

'End of my baseball season'

They were able to stabilize Quintin and stop the bleeding from his leg while they waited for an ambulance.

"Obviously, he was in shock but he really wasn't crying like he was in panic. He's like 'Am I going to be okay?'"

"I cry when I get a sliver and then when a huge rock falls on me I don't cry," Quintin told CBC. "Honestly, the only thing that was in my head was this was the end of my baseball season."

Quintin Ketchabaw's family surrounds his hospital bed at the IWK. From the left, Donna Blanchet (Quintin's grandmother), Noah Ketchabaw, Susie Brown, Dan Brown, and Nelle Brown. (Submitted by Charlene Brown)

Quintin was taken by ambulance to Prince County Hospital in Summerside, P.E.I.

It was quickly determined that he would be airlifted to the IWK Children's Hospital in Halifax.

Quintin was soon taken into the operating room in Halifax, to have surgeries on his leg for a broken femur and damaged arteries.

Just be aware of what's going on around you at all times, like things change so quickly. Accidents happen very quickly.— Charlene Brown

He's now been in hospital for more than a week and is still on the long road to recovery before he can head back home to Tillsonburg, Ontario.

His baseball team did a bottle drive and started a fundraiser to help raise money toward Quintin's recovery.

"Just thankful for everyone that was there at that right moment, at the right time. For all the surgeons, for the doctors and nurses. For the people who've donated blood, for the community back home that's supporting him," said Brown.

"Just be aware of what's going on around you at all times, like things change so quickly. Accidents happen very quickly."

Teacup Rock is a popular destination for may people who are looking to get a photo with the iconic sandstone structure. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Brown said that she never saw a sign warning about the dangers of the sandstone rock cliffs but hopes some could be put up to warn others in the future.

Government officials said in an email to CBC that provincial parks with high banks and cliffs have warning signs.

They also have information on the Tourism PEI website about the potential dangers of hiking and climbing the cliffs. 

The Thunder Cove beach area is not part of a provincial park.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Jessica Doria-Brown

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