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. Habs Suck

    I take that one back sorry to all Canucks.

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

    It seems that many of you would do or say anything (at anytime), for an opportunity to be on stage. This isn't about any of you. I'm so sorry for the this family and all of their loved ones who will miss them so much.

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

    "God Bless the family"

    Jeez – didn't he just UN-bless them??

    May 12, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. quonsar

    That would be 'overpaid', not 'overpayed'. Better hire your own editors!

    May 12, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. LIB

    I was praying they would be found alive somehow.After reading the story I thought about them overnite and hoped for a better outcome

    May 12, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. Spectator

    Chris: C) Spectator, your comment makes you sound like the religious leader in Iran who blamed scantily-clad women for earthquakes. Completely unnecessary, and pretty egotistical of you to think that you have the answer to thousand-year-old questions.

    I fail to see how you are relating my comments to odd religious extreme views or why it is egotistical to actually study your Bible for yourself. Use some reason and study it out. What does it actually say? That is not egotistical at all but rather reasonable. To blindly follow culture is unreasonable. To spout some nonsense without having a background and basis for the belief is not reasonable. I will respect anyone's views as long as they show they can reason and back it. All I did is give you mine.

    And it is not in the Bible either to worship on Sunday....just saying....

    But this is the end of my posting on here because it is way off topic and I already gave my condolences. Everyone have a nice day.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. Doug

    NICK... what you said. Sheesh people, if you want to invoke your imaginaryGod, perhaps he should have prevented the accident. Maybe he was busy watching a football game? I know he's a fan because I always see the players thanking the Lord after they score. Please.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    Irreligion is a scary weapon period. The fruits of irreligion are way worse than the misuse of religion has ever been. The fruits of godlessness and irreligion have been over 1 billion abortions worldwide, mass promiscuity and adultery, 50 % of Americans with STD's. Shall I go on? Religion is needed to suppress the animalistic desired of humans.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. Purnell

    Dark Lord might have a careeer writing comic books for special ed kids.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. Habs Suck

    It works on all those Catholic priests doesn't it?

    May 12, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. Know the truth

    There is only one scripture that is quoted on this message board that is accurate. Jeremiah 29:11. The rest are false and I encourage everyone to read the Bible and know the truth.
    But Jesus answered him, saying ""It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."
    Luke 4:4

    May 12, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. dbarak

    "May 12th, 2010
    9:14 am ET
    "known as" not "know as". Damnit CNN, you guys most certainly need to hire more overpayed editors.
    Posted by: Adame Esmakidze"

    Ha! You're a funny guy! It's "overpaid," not "overpayed." You most certainly need to hire an "overpayed" spelling tutor.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. Cindy


    I think what she meant is that because the whole family died, it was nice that they were together at that time. Obviously, anyone would rather 1, 2, 3, or all of the family survived. But, because they didn' least they were together and the children weren't alone and scared. I think that's what she meant!!

    People are so testy on these message boards!

    May 12, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. GODD

    Did you hear about the dyslexic agnostic insomniac? He lays awake at night wondering if there really is a Dog. And when he finally comes to understand his Dog is based on belief and nothing more, it will become easy for him to envision men in dresses violating children and blowing themselves up to kill other people. All of these things are done in the name of Dog.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. Habs Suck

    I know many people who do not believe in a god or all high power I would like to think they are kind and loving people. Conscience and reasoning allow us to control animal urges. This is part of human EVOLUTION. If your religion is all that is stopping you from being a dirty pirate than I feel sorry for you.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
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