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. Me

    MissMe- It's a public board if you don't want to hear what someone has to say than perhaps you shouldn't write on it at all to begin with.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. God's child

    @ realist, The disaters that God has prevented cannot be shown because if I could show you such a disater then that means God didn't prevent it. This disater is just one that God chose not to prevent.
    @jay. God doesn't condone all those things. Those acts you described are the human race's pinishement for the sins we commit on a daily basis. If you don't believe me that's fine. I'm not going to argue with you about it, but one day I am certain that you will face God and I only pray that you will have accepeted him as your creator and savior before you do. God bless you Jay I will pray for you and If you ever need to talk to someone about anything you can e-mail me @

    May 12, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Wayne

    To Russ,

    Hello in there, is anyone home Russ. Sorry to break it to you bub, but Psssst, YOU ARE AN ANIMAL TOO,

    May 12, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. PJ

    What really sucks is that they died watching two crap teams.What a way to go.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mikkee

    flashlb should get a life

    May 12, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nathan

    @Amanohyo: How does allowing something to happen that you don't want to happen make you a selfish jerk? Wouldn't it be selfish if you stopped something you didn't want to happen to not happen simply because you didn't want it to happen?

    @Jay: Would you say that a majority of people who commit murder or other crimes are believers or non-believers? When something bad happens, would you expect it be more likely for a church to help you or someone else? I'm not saying that a person needs God to not do bad things, all I'm saying is that the laws of believers should been seen as good, not zealous. I believe you would agree that murder, lying, adultery, and the others are bad things that no one should do. God says not to. God sounds pretty smart huh?

    You're right that the Old Testament has a lot of bad stuff in it. It also claims that those things are bad. The Bible also claims that no one is perfect, so you shouldn't expect any character in the Bible to be completely clean. Same for any believers you meet. If that was the case, Jesus wouldn't have had to make the sacrifice. We're all men and women, subject to sin.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |


    May 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sherri

    Jay must be gay...........

    May 12, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sherri

    definition for Jay: gayer > three dollar bill

    May 12, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dee

    My thoughts and prayers are with their family members that are still here.

    To: Ashlyye

    To prove to people that there is a God, I always use the example of child birth. Conception proves that God made man and every living creature on this earth. Because I do not believe that no one on this earth could have designed our internal or external organs and make it work in such perfect order like the reproductive system for example. Also, think about the design of our eyes, it is just amazing how we can see out of them. It has to be God's light for us to see. God created such awesome creatures. He is so amazing and deserves all of our praises. Our purpose for being here is so that we can get back in a good relationship with him since the fall of man. And so that everyone can be a part of his family by following his righteous ways so that others can be drawn to his love which is deep and will shine so bright if we will follow the teachings he sent by his son Jesus. All God ever wanted was to love what he created and we love him back unconditionallly with our own free will. He will not make us love him . I promise you if you follow his ways, it will keep you out of all the unnecesary trouble we tend to get into. God did not make rules to punish us but to prevent a lot of unnecessary trouble we get into. God is that inward voice that tries to stop us from doing certain things. We sometimes call it our conscience or we say something told me to do this or that. So, if we listen to the voice that is telling us to do the right thing instead of the wrong thing that is how you followi God. Also, talking to him and telling him about your day, worshipping him in song, and study the scriptures to keep your mind renewed to the ways of God. God wants us to live in peace but we choose to follow the corrupt things in the world that causes so much pain and hurt. So, God wants us to follow him while we are here, he is trying to gather as many people into his kingdom as possible so that we can join him in the end and things will be the way he wanted it to be in the beginning when he created man.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jay

    ....???? Where the hell did that come from? o.O I'm not, but if I was, who cares? What does that have to do with anything?

    May 12, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Fatjesus

    Hey does anyone else find comfort in the fact that they can save money on a funeral. All they have to do is cover the hole with some dirt and have someone say some words. Oh and let the dog say goodbye. They can be like the ancients and be burried with all of their worldly goods. Oh and god bless us, everyone.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Wolf Rayet

    He could have done a better job on your heart. Crummy supply lines that clogged up all the time.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. just observing

    For those who say there is no God,,,I can respect that you don't believe.. that is your choice.

    But to say that religion and God cause all this hatred and evil in the world and without God or Country we would be good.....I mean come on! Seriously? You believe that? Hello the world didn't start with people believing in God or Countries.....Man created both. So man is just inherently evil just as there are inherently good caring people in this world. Religion or lack of religion ,,,God or lack of God would make no difference there.

    I do believe in God by the way although I don't believe he causes any of the tragedies yes he is aware of them and the evil that mankind does and he weeps for them....but regardless it is man who is evil.

    As for the family it is sad very sad. But yes I am glad that the dog survived.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. CB San DIego

    This may be one of the most fascinating comments sections I have ever read. I mean, you guys really run the gammut on topics!

    Now, everyone, time to go BACK TO WORK!

    May 12, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
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