A musician in a local heavy metal band and a six-year-old girl who loved dressing up like a princess have been identified as two of the victims who died during a torrential rainstorm last weekend in rural Nova Scotia.

Nicholas Anthony Holland, 52, of Windsor, N.S., was the bassist in Hogtooth and father of two children.

His former wife, Julie Giffin Holland, confirmed to The Canadian Press that Holland died trying to escape the floodwater. "He died a hero and should be remembered as that," she said in a text message.

Holland was one of four people, including two young children, who went missing early Saturday after the vehicles they were in were swept off a road and submerged as they fled their homes.

A funeral home death notice identifies one of the children who died as six-year-old Natalie Hazel Harnish of Brooklyn, N.S. The notice directs people to a fundraising page that says her family "lost everything" during the July 22 flash floods.

It describes her passion for dressing up and wearing the colour purple. "Natalie was full of life," it reads. "She was enthusiastic about her cheerleading and could frequently be found doing cartwheels around the house." It notes that her beloved dog also died in the flooding and will be buried at her side after a funeral set for Monday.

Holland leaves behind a partner as well as his two children. An obituary on a funeral home website describes him as a talented musician who played in many bands over the years. "All who knew him knew music was his passion," it says.

His body was recovered Monday in Brooklyn, about 55 kilometres northwest of Halifax. In the obituary, his family thanked search and rescue teams, private citizens and Holland's bandmates for their "tireless" efforts to find him.

“They all went above and beyond to bring Nick home to us, and we will be forever deeply grateful for that,” the obituary reads.

Victims of Nova Scotia flooding include 6-year-old girl and member of local rock band. #Flooding #NovaScotia

A youth aged under 18 who was travelling with Holland remains missing. The remains of Natalie and another child, who were in a separate vehicle, were recovered this week. Police have said a surge of water washed the vehicles off the road as the occupants were trying to escape flash flooding at around 4 a.m. Saturday.

The rainstorm was categorized as a once-in-a-thousand-years event by Halifax officials, with the city and surrounding regions receiving as much as 250 millimetres of rain.

The severe flooding damaged dozens of roads and bridges across the province. As of Thursday, provincial officials said they had not yet assessed the full extent of the damage, though floodwaters had receded substantially.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 27, 2023.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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