The Escuminac hurricane capsized 22 fishing boats off the coast of New Brunswick

Randi MannDigital Reporter

On this day in weather history, a storm hit New Brunswick.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


Between June 18 and 21, 1959, an Atlantic hurricane caused one of New Brunswick's worst fishing-related disasters. The incident, called the 1959 Escuminac disaster, killed 35 people and caused US$2.5 million (1959) worth of damage.

On June 18, the storm developed in the Gulf of Mexico. On the same day, it hit Florida and strengthened into a tropical storm. The storm reached hurricane strength on June 19 but was turned into an extratropical cyclone the same day. The storm's remnants hit Atlantic Canada before dissipating on June 21.

Escuminac-Disaster-Monument©LDD 8332Courtesy Larry Dickinson,

Courtesy of Larry Dickinson,

In Atlantic Canada, around 45 boats were in the Northumberland Strait when the storm was approaching. They didn't have radios to receive warnings. The rough water caused at least 22 fishing boats to capsize. The boats were located between Point Escuminac and Richibucto. The incident became the deadliest work-related disaster in New Brunswick's history.

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In Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, many lobster cages were destroyed. In New Brunswick, some boats were destroyed and others were washed ashore.

The Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Mounted Police led rescue efforts. The New Brunswick Fishermen's Disaster Fund was created to help the families who lost someone during the incident. People across Canada donated to the fund that accrued $400,000.

Courtesy Larry Dickinson,

Courtesy of Larry Dickinson,

In 1962, an artist, Claude Roussel, created a sculpture to remember the victims. The wood sculpture called "Les Pêcheurs – The Fishermen" was turned into a stone structure and dedicated on June 19, 1869. The stone monument is 2.3 m tall and weighs around 10,000 pounds.

To learn more about the 1959 Escuminac disaster, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail: Courtesy of Larry Dickinson,