‘Like I hit a brick wall’: Part of the Cabot Trail washed over the man as he drove over it

A Cape Breton man whose vehicle fell about six feet into a hole when part of the Cabot Trail washed out beneath 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 in Broad Cove, where he did traffic checks to prevent people from traveling on the road and also checked for floods.

Parts of the Cabot Trail, a 298-kilometer-long motorway loop in northern Cape Breton, have now been washed out and closed after heavy rain and gusty winds in the province on Tuesday.

When visibility was poor due to the pounding rain, Fraser drove slowly, saying he saw some mud that he thought was draining from the road shoulder.

“It was almost as if I was hitting a wall, but I was down the hole when I hit,” Fraser said. “I did not even notice the truck fall – I just went and said ‘Bang!’

Davey Fraser has not been back to where the incident happened, but he has seen pictures. He estimates his vehicle ended up about 18 feet away from where it was when he was sitting in it. (Eric Woolliscroft / CBC)

Fraser jumped out of the driver’s side of the vehicle and estimates the fall was about two feet to the cascading water, mud and asphalt below.

“I said, ‘I have to get out of here, because this is not going to happen,'” said Fraser, who managed to climb up to the road on broken asphalt.

This is the stretch of road where the incident happened. (Kayla Hounsell / CBC)

From there, he called his supervisor. During the few minutes it took for the supervisor to arrive, the vehicle flushed further away.

He and his boss were met by paramedics nearby and taken to a paramedic station. Fraser said paramedics thought he should be x-rayed, but there was no way to get him to hospitals in Baddeck or Sydney due to floods and road washes.

Fraser said his chest and ribs are sore and he reckons he has a broken nose.

Parts of the Cabot Trail, a 298-kilometer-long highway loop in northern Cape Breton, have now been washed out and closed due to Tuesday’s heavy rainfall and windy weather. (Eric Woolliscroft / CBC)

When he got home to Ingonish, he found out that his hard day was not over. Fraser’s basement was flooded, his roof was leaking, and his well was flushed away.

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

Fraser said he plans to return to work Monday or Tuesday and talks about what happened to become one of the job duties.

“It will stick in my mind for a while,” he said.

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