Two men from India dead after incident at rural N.B. swimming hole

Kent Steeves, Elgin volunteer fire chief, says the department responds to calls at the swimming hole each year. (Elgin Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook - image credit)

Police say two men have died at a popular swimming hole about 20 kilometres south of Petitcodiac, now part of the community of Three Rivers.

RCMP spokesperson Hans Ouellette said in an email that police responded to Gibson Falls, just off River Road in Elgin, around 3:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon to reports of people in medical distress.

Upon arrival, police, fire and ambulance responders recovered a 21-year-old man from the Pollet River and attempted lifesaving measures, but he died on the scene, according to Ouellete.

The second body, of a 24-year-old man, was recovered from the water the next day. Both men were citizens of India, Ouellette said.

Criminality is not believed to be a factor and the investigation into the deaths is being handled by the provincial coroner's office, he said.

Fire chief warns location is dangerous

This is not the first death at Gibson Falls. There have been at least two others in the last dozen years.

Kent Steeves, Elgin's volunteer fire chief, said it's a dangerous area.

"The location is in a deep gorge and it's tough to get down into [and] it's tough to get back out of," Steeves said.

"So, the easiest way in is to jump. But the problem is, being down there and coming back up is the struggle because it's all rock."

Steeves said on average, the department tends to respond to a call at Gibson Falls at least once a year. It's a popular spot for swimming, and it's not uncommon to see about a hundred cars parked along the road in the summer, he said.

The property is privately owned and has signage warning visitors that they enter at their own risk, Steeves said.

The department even trains in the area "because we know it's a problem area for us."

"At the end of the day, it's a tough place to get into and it is dangerous.

"When you have lots of people in there and they're all jumping and maybe not looking down, people can get landed on," he said.