INVERNESS COUNTY: One swimmer passed away and four others were rescued at beaches in Inverness County last weekend.

On Saturday, July 22, just before 2 p.m., Inverness District RCMP responded to a report of a suspected drowning at Port Hood Beach.

A 59-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman, both from Sydney, had been swimming in the ocean, but after a period of time required assistance to get back to shore. The woman was brought safely back while the man, after several attempts at resuscitation, was pronounced dead. The woman was later transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

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Lifesaving efforts were assisted by lifeguards from Nova Scotia Lifeguard Services, Emergency Health Services, and local first responders. The matter is still under investigation and RCMP will be working with the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause of death.

Paul D’Eon, the director of the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service, said the two people were swimming in a supervised area when a lifeguard was asked for help.

“The lifeguard noticed a lady waving and calling for help,” he said. “She responded immediately, approximately 30 meters from the shoreline. She got to the man and he was conscious and responsive. As she carried him into the shore, he became increasingly less responsive and by the time she got him to the beach, he was unconscious and non-breathing.”

D’Eon said lifeguards administered CPR and oxygen, and attempted defibrillation before first responders arrived.

On the same day, three people needed assistance at Inverness Beach, where D’Eon said there were large waves.

“We had closed the beach the day before and had closed it up until shortly after lunch,” he said. “We had someone approach the lifeguards at approximately 2:30 p.m. They told us there were people [300 meters down the beach] that couldn’t get in and looked to be stuck out on the waves.”

D’Eon said two lifeguards responded, with one bringing in a father and son while the other brought in the mother.

“The lady had swallowed a bunch of water and was subsequently transported by Emergency Health Services for observation only,” he said.

D’Eon urged people to take caution with big waves, noting Inverness and North Shore beaches can become “quite treacherous.”