May 12th, 2010
08:46 AM ET

Family dead in basement after sinkhole swallowed home

The bodies of a Canadian couple and their two daughters were found late Tuesday in the basement of their house that plunged into a massive sinkhole, CNN affiliates reported.

"They were found very close to one another, some of them lying on the couch in the family room in the basement, where we were told that they'd be," said Michel C. Doré, Quebec's associate deputy public security minister, who was on the scene, told CNN affiliate CBC.

Yvon Desrochers, uncle of homeowner Richard Préfontaine, told the CBC on Tuesday feared his nephew and his family were in the basement watching the Montreal Canadiens-Pittsburgh Penguins hockey playoff game Monday night when the ground gave way beneath the home, about 40 miles northeast of Montreal.

Besides Préfontaine, those in the home were his wife, Lyne Charbonneau, and their two daughters, Amélie, 12, and Anaïs, 9.

The family’s dog was found alive – caked in mud – in the sinkhole earlier Tuesday.

The hole was about 500 yards long and forced the evacuation of five other homes in the town of Saint-Jude, in a rural area near the Yamaska River.

While there was no official word on the cause of the sinkhole, geologist Judith Patterson told CNN affiliate CTV that the sinkhole looked like a kind of landslide known as a “lateral spread.”

The region has soils known as “quick clay” that can liquefy, leading to a landslide or sinkhole, she told CTV.

"These clays, they're stable when they're undisturbed. But once they're disturbed, then they become very hazardous," she told CTV.

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Filed under: Canada
soundoff (578 Responses)
  1. dianna

    @ the dark lord approaches, what bible are you getting these verses from. The ones I am reading from the verses you have posted have nothing to do with a dark knight or a white knight? Also what Bible is Paul in? I cant seem to find that book in my Bible. Just curious.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. Marc

    @ Spectator

    Wow, brainwashing is a powerful thing isn't it? What if you were born in Saudi Arabia? Would you believe in their God with as much fervor? It's time we "man up" and accept the inevitability of our finite existence without using a religion to ease our fear of the unknown. If you look at our evolution, it's plain to see that religion is but a coping mechanism. Anyone who thinks otherwise is blinded with fear. At least dare to think of the alternative!

    And religion is "a propos" here because we as a population need to value human life instead of dealing with the loss as if a continuation. How differently would your life be if we proved religion to be false? You would gain a few more hours on Sunday at the least!

    May 12, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. The Dark Lord Approaches

    Armegeddon Nears as the Earth Opens and swallows the soul of man. Ye must run to the local gun shop and stock ye home with ammunition and rifles. For ye will shoot the Dark Lord into submission. END OF TIMES HAS APPROACHED. For ye are doomed now that the sinner socialist, nazi, muslim, false prophe takes afoot in the White House. THe White Knight realized the black man hath come to take his soup and hotpockets and thus deemed bad.

    Jobs 34:22

    May 12, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    Religion should be the opiate of the masses. Unfortunately it is tv, sports and hollywood.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. Me

    Margroks- couldn't have agreed more, now if only there were more people out there like you and I.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. Wolf Rayet

    sham wow, Cathy – Age 13, I love you but not in a weird Internet way 🙂

    May 12, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. Fenix

    I'm confused. In one paragraph they mention a nephew, but there were only the two girls in the house. Where does the nephew come in? Did they have a son that wasn't home at the time? I thought I read a story that said they had a son and a daughter, could somebody writing these stories please check the facts?

    May 12, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Marc

    @ Mike

    Wow, you are one scary MF!

    May 12, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tina

    You people are pathetic!

    May 12, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  10. Habs Suck

    Have you seen what happens when religion is the opiate of the masses? Buildings get bombed OT (Old Testament style) Religion is a scary weapon in the wrong hands. So please lets NOT make it an opiate of the masses.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  11. The Dark Lord Approaches

    The Dark Lord noticed the peons and how easy it is to distract them and LOL'ed acrosse the vast universe. Afterall, even ye of the Dark realized that a hole opened up and killed a family yet The Dark Lord hath made you forgot the original tradgedy.

    Thus the White Knight realized all man was gullible and ultimately doomed by their own stupidity.


    CRYD 32:22

    May 12, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    Good thing the Canadiens won!

    May 12, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dachatt

    How sad.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. Habs Suck

    They sure didnt win in this story.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jay

    Calling people swine and quoting bible passages at them on a comment section that should be devoted strictly to condolences is really, truly sad. I pity those of you who feel the need to use this time to continue to throw your beliefs at others. You and Fred Phelps make a great team.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
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