Natural Resources


Date: August 1, 1973

Location: Harbour Breton

Easting: 589500

Northing: 5258600

Latitude: 47° 29' 00" N

Longitude: 55° 48' 00" W

Fatalities: 4

Injuries: ?

Source: Internal files, GSB; Nolan-White report, Evening Telegram, August 3rd, 4th, 1973; Atlantic Insight, 1983; plaque at Harbour Breton

On August 1, 1973, following several weeks of heavy rainfall, a debris torrent occurred at about 3 a.m. in a gully above the community, resulting in the deaths of four children. Four houses were swept into the harbour and destroyed. Further slope movements continued over the days following the disaster. Pauline, Edward, Timothy and Julia Hickey, aged 8, 7, 5, and 4, all from the family of Jack and Olive Hickey, were killed. There were 14 survivors. The youngest Hickey child Cavell, who was 21 months old at the time, was trapped when the water and mud forced her crib into the attic of the house. Rescuers heard her cries and reached her by cutting a hole in the roof. 53 year old Beatrice Hunt was trapped beneath her cast iron stove for 6 hours before rescue but survived with only minor cuts and bruises. Following the disaster 14 other homes were relocated, and a ban on development in the landslide area was implemented. A monument was erected on the site of the Hickey house in 1997.

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