Tourists still taking chances at Peggy's Cove despite tragedy
Less than two weeks after a 25-year-old Ontario man was swept into the Atlantic Ocean at Peggy's Cove, tourists are still taking chances and venturing onto the slippery rocks close to shore.
Jamie Quattrocchi, of Smiths Falls, Ont., was visiting the popular Nova Scotia tourist destination with his girlfriend, Brittany Smith, on April 22 when he was dragged out to sea by a large wave. His body has not been recovered but he is presumed dead.
Despite the tragedy, and warning signs in the area, visitors to the site continue to climb onto the rocks for a closer view.
"It's very mesmerizing, and you kind of ignore … all the cautionary signs," Aaron Spitzer, a tourist visiting from Ontario, told CTV Atlantic.
Spitzer, who was in town with friends to celebrate their graduation from the University of Toronto, had a scare when he slipped on a slime-covered rock and tore his pants.
"I wanted to get closer and you don't realize how slippery the rocks are," Spitzer said.
Chris Towner, who is visiting from the United Kingdom, heard about Quattrocchi's death but isn't surprised that many chose to ignore the risks.
"It seems to me people will make a judgment about how risky a venture is regardless of the signs," Towner said.
"They look out, they see the sea is reasonably calm and they ignore the signs and then something unexpected happens," he added.
In light of Quattrocchi's death, there have been calls to increase safety at Peggy's Cove.
Quattrocchi's family has joined the efforts and want to raise funds so no one else suffers a similar fate.
"When I mentioned this idea to Brittany it was the first time since the tragedy that I saw any glimmer, any shining in her eyes, that we could turn this tragedy into something positive and to make it so that other families don’t experience the same kind of pain we're experiencing right now," Jamie Quattrocchi's mother, Caroline, told CTV Ottawa last week.
Smith told Quattorcchi's mother that she might have been able to help rescue her boyfriend if there had been a floatation device on hand that she could have thrown to him.
There have also been suggestions that a fence should be built in the area, or safety ropes attached to buoys near the shore.
Nova Scotia government officials say that they have yet to settle on any new measures.
Meanwhile, the RCMP expects to see more calls for help at Peggy's Cove as the tourist season ramps up.
"As the weather gets warmer and as the tourists increase at Peggy's Cove, people will start to go out there more and more, (and) typically … there has been an increase in calls for service," Cpl. Greg Church told CTV Atlantic.
With a report from CTV Atlantic's Ron Shaw and CTV Ottawa