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Two dead in N.B. river at Gibson Falls: RCMP

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New Brunswick RCMP has confirmed two people have died at a river at Gibson Falls.

Caledonia RCMP responded to a report of two people in medical distress at Gibson Falls off River Road in Elgin around 3:30 p.m. on Monday. They found a 21-year-old man in the river and tried life-saving measures. The man died at the scene due to injuries.

“A second 24-year-old man who also died at the scene as a result of his injuries was recovered from the water the next day (Tuesday) with the assistance of the RCMP’s underwater recovery team," said Cpl. Hans Ouellette. "Both individuals are citizens of India and at this time police do not believe criminality to be a factor in the deaths." 

Police in Elgin, NB., on June 11, 2024. (Derek Haggett/CTV Atlantic)

Elgin Fire Chief Kent Steeves told CTV News they received a call at 3:26 p.m. Monday for two people possibly in the water.

“A lot of people like to come up for the beauty of the landscape, but it’s also a dangerous place,” said Steeves. “It’s high cliffs. Not a lot of access in and out.

"The easiest way in is to jump and the cliffs are fairly steep. It’s always a bit of a dangerous spot to be swimming in."

Steeves said there has been a few fatalities in the area over the years.

“We’ve had many people hurt that we brought up out of there that were injured, but it’s been a few years since the last fatality,” he said. “There’s a lot of rock face and the rock face is smooth in places and it’s a hard place to get any grip and footing to get back up."

A popular swimming hole in Elgin, N.B. (Derek Haggett/CTV Atlantic)

In 2012, a 35-year-old Moncton woman drowned at Gibson Falls. She was pronounced dead at the scene after her body was pulled from the water.

Local residents say many people come to enjoy the natural beauty of the area, but visiting comes with risks.

“It’s a beautiful spot, but some people like to jump off the cliffs and it’s dangerous,” said Shirley Cole, who has lived in Elgin for 20 years.

Shirley Humphrey lives about a kilometre away from Gibson Falls and has lived in Elgin for 65 years.

“I feel for the families. My heart goes out to those two boys,” said Humphrey. “You don’t know how deep the water is. It might look deep from 50 feet up, but you could dive in there and hit a rock pretty easily.”

Steeves said firefighters from Sussex and Petitcodiac were also on scene Monday as well as the RCMP and Ambulance New Brunswick.

“This is extremely tough for our people," said Steeves. “We don’t like to see anyone in those situations and we hate to have to put ourselves in our own situations to get down in there and get them. We’ve been doing it for years and we’ll continue to do it for the people that come up." 

Ouellette said autopsies are scheduled for both men.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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