“As if I had hit a brick wall”: part of the Cabot trail was washed away by man as he crossed it

A Cape Breton man whose vehicle fell about six meters into a hole when part of the Cabot Trail was swept under him on Tuesday says he thought he was going to die.

Davey Fraser works for Parks Canada as a heavy equipment operator and truck driver. On Tuesday he was just past the entrance to Cape Breton Highlands National Park at Broad Cove, where he was controlling traffic to keep people off the road and also checking for flooding.

Parts of the Cabot Trail, a 298-kilometer highway loop in northern Cape Breton, are now washed away and closed after heavy rains and winds swept across the province on Tuesday.

With poor visibility from the pouring rain, Fraser drove slowly and said he saw mud, which he believed to be runoff from the shoulder of the road.

“It was almost like I hit a brick wall, but I was in the hole when I hit,” Fraser said. “I didn’t even feel the truck fall – I was just going and, ‘Bang!'”

Davey Fraser did not return to where the incident happened, but did see photos. He estimates that his vehicle ended up about 18 meters from where he was when he was inside. (Eric Woolliscroft / CBC)

Fraser jumped off the driver’s side of the vehicle and estimated the fall to be about two meters to the gushing water, mud and asphalt below.

“I said, ‘I have to get out of here because it’s not going to stay,’ said Fraser, who managed to climb up the road on broken asphalt.

This is the section of road where the incident occurred. (Kayla Hounsell / CBC)

From there, he phoned his supervisor. In the few minutes it took for the attendant to arrive, the vehicle swept away.

He and his boss were met nearby by paramedics and taken to an ambulance station. Fraser said paramedics believed he should have an x-ray, but there was no way to get him to hospitals in Baddeck or Sydney due to flooding and flooding.

Fraser said his chest and ribs were sore and he thought he had a broken nose.

Parts of the Cabot Trail, a 298-kilometer highway loop in northern Cape Breton, are now washed away and closed due to heavy rains and a windstorm on Tuesday. (Eric Woolliscroft / CBC)

When he returned home to Ingonish, he learned that his hard day was not over. Fraser’s basement was flooded, his roof was leaking, and his well was washed away.

The closest weather station to Ingonish is at Ingonish Beach, which recorded 263 millimeters of rain, CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon said.

Fraser said he plans to return to work on Monday or Tuesday and explained that what happened was one of the duties of the job.

“It will stay in my head for a while,” he said.

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