Bathurst — New Brunswick man Wade Patterson is in hospital this morning after being critically injured on the golden sands of Bathurst’s Youghall Beach.
Patterson, a divorced retiree who spends his time on the beach with a metal detector, was frolicking in the surf during low tide when he was suddenly struck by a knee-high wave that knocked him off-balance. Onlookers said that Patterson wildly swung his arms in a pathetic attempt to maintain his balance, when another, slightly smaller wave hit him and pushed him under the water.
While this normally wouldn’t have really affected anyone, Patterson had the misfortune of landing on a sharp piece of broken clam shell that cut his back. When Patterson bellowed in pain, a tiny jellyfish caught in the surf drifted into the unfortunate man’s mouth.
“So the poor guy starts choking on salt water and on a damn jellyfish, and if that isn’t bad enough, a crab pinches his toe,” recounted local cottage owner Kevin Saunders. “Turns out that was the toe he broke while laying bricks a few days before, so it was already pretty weak.
“Well, that crab just sliced right clean through and the fella lost his toe!” elaborated Saunders.
At this point, various witnesses waded in to the shallow water help the bleeding victim out into the stinging sea water, but due to Patterson’s incessant thrashing, he had become covered in floating seaweed and was too slippery for anyone to get a firm enough grip to haul him out.
The would-be rescuers tried in vain to hoist Patterson out of the water while Saunders called 911. Finally, the rescuers managed to get Patterson’s head above water.
“Now there was a sight that near made me puke,” said Ella Cantwell, one of Patterson’s rescuers. “Turns out he’s allergic to jellyfish, so the whole lower half of his face was swollen to hell. His eyes were all bloodshot and he looked like a drowned Mr. Potato Head.”
Luckily, the swollen head made it easier to drag Patterson out of the water and onto the beach. Unfortunately, the rescuers were focussing on the victim rather than where they were going and dragged Patterson onto still-hot coals from a bonfire the night before. At this point Patterson was unable to make any sound, and nobody realized their error until the paramedics arrived 20 minutes later.
Patterson was rushed into an ambulance and brought to the Chaleur Regional Hospital, where he is being treated for drowning, choking, lacerations, missing appendages, allergic reaction, and third-degree burns. It remains uncertain how well Patterson will recover from his injuries.
Patterson’s only family, his ex-wife Lucinda, asks for donations to be made to a GoFundMe page to help with rehabilitation costs and allow him to resume beachcombing as soon as possible.