Man dies at Drysdale Falls Monday evening

Sherry Martell
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Truro Daily News

The Falls - A 41-year-old Oxford man died Monday evening while swimming in a rapidly moving pool of water at the top of Drysdale Falls.

Tatamagouche firefighters and a Special Hazards Response Unit from Bible Hill repelled into the swirling body of water to retrieve the victim.

"We had two guys in the water," said department chief, Jim Forbes.

"One of our guys got pulled under again. There's a severe undertow."

Paramedics, police, and more than

a dozen firefighters responded to

the 911 call for help at about 6 p.m.

at the falls located on the Balmoral Road, near Tatamagouche.

The man was travelling with a group of five people, included at least three children, who had arrived at the falls late in the afternoon.

Deputy chief Ian MacDonald said the onset of warm weather brings people to the falls even though it is known to be a dangerous place.

He said last year the department was called upon to perform rescues there at least three times.

"I've been to a lot of these and this is the saddest one I've ever been to," said deputy chief, Ian MacDonald.

"It's just tragic. "

Organizations: Daily News

Geographic location: Tatamagouche, Falls, Oxford Balmoral Road

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Recent comments

  • Dan Bedell
    January 18, 2010 - 11:21

    The tragic death of Mr. Powell was part of the reason the Canadian Red Cross issued the following appeal in advance of the upcoming Canada Day long weekend and summer vacation season:


    DARTMOUTH, N.S. -- A fourth drowning in Atlantic Canada in less than 10 days has prompted the Canadian Red Cross to renew its plea for caution in or near the water, especially during the upcoming Canada Day long weekend.

    As an organization dedicated to swimming and water safety training for over 60 years, it's heart-breaking to see the agony now facing families and friends in several of our communities, said Wayne Young, director of injury prevention for the Red Cross in Atlantic Canada. This number of deaths is both tragic and alarming to us because drownings are predictable and preventable.

    Each year, over 400 Canadians drown and half of them die in June, July and August. About 80 per cent will be male, and the Atlantic provinces have a disproportionate share of all drownings in Canada.

    Although the region borders the ocean, Red Cross research over a 10-year period shows only 20 per cent of drownings in Atlantic Canada occur in ocean waters. Nearly twice that many, 39 per cent, happen in lakes, with 30 per cent in rivers and nine per cent in pools. For every two drownings, another person suffers permanent brain impairment from a water-related injury.

    Over half of drownings in summer involve boating activities, which underscores how vitally important it is that anyone setting foot in a pleasure craft be wearing an approved and properly fitted life-jacket at all times, Young added.

    Another concern of the Canadian Red Cross is the growing popularity of large inflatable above-ground pools that are easily accessible to children.

    Everywhere I drive in Atlantic Canada, I see these pools popping up with growing frequency, and am appalled to see many of them have no safety equipment in sight, and the owners have not heeded our advice that all pools be enclosed by fencing that's at least 1.2 metres (4 feet) high with a self-closing, self-latching lock on the gate.

    Tips for safely enjoying summer leisure activities in and near the water can be found online at and click on Swimming and Boating Safety.

    (Anyone can drown in less time than it takes to read these 10 tips)

    1. Ensure children are supervised at all times in or near water.

    2. Backyard pools should be fully fenced with a self-locking gate.

    3. When not in use, clear toys out of the pool or away from waters edge as they attract toddlers.

    4. Have emergency equipment including a first aid kit and phone close by.

    5. Ensure everyone aboard your boat has their life-jacket on and fastened.

    6. Never consume alcohol before or during swimming or boating activities.

    7. Enrol in swimming and water safety lessons.

    8. Know how to respond in any emergency by taking first aid lessons.

    9. Be extra cautious in any waterway with tides or currents.

    10. Remember that water levels in lake and rivers fluctuate, so enter cautiously and feet first.

    Thanks for allowing a discussion forum on this important topic.

    Our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Powell.

    Dan Bedell
    Director, Public Affairs, Atlantic Zone
    Canadian Red Cross
    133 Troop Avenue
    Dartmouth, NS B3B 2A7