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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  1. The Dark Lord Approaches

    The White Knight sayeth unto thee, "For swine is to not be eaten for ye little finger has 3 prongs" And thus swine was deemed bad.

    John 69:69

    May 12, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. Liz

    petey boy- Why is it not okay to care for an animal as well as a person? Not for nothing but your post pretty much explains exactly why I don't see good in many humans. Most are selfish and heartless. Thanks for posting that because you pretty much proved my point.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. God's child

    I'm not goin to impose my beliefs on anyone, but for all the non-believers I just want to say that there is a GOD. Just because you don't believe in him doesn't mean he doesn't exist. God is creator of all things. I do not believe he made this tragedy happen but merely that he allowed it to happen. God gave man freewill. So if you, of your own freewill, decide to build your house on land that has not been properly surveyed it is not God's fault when it collapses.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. Chuck

    Who cares about a dog??? For crying out loud, four people died. So sad.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. Opiate of the masses

    There is no god, there is no devil. Religion is for ignorant people who still live in the middle ages.

    This was geology, not some magic man in the sky.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. I AM #1

    Thats very sad

    May 12, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. jey

    re: Dark Lord...
    I wish you wouldn't mislead the uneducated and quote something as if it is scripture. Just know all that stuff is not from the holy Bible. Read up. It is made to sound like it could be but not even a different translation is applicable to those references. Any one who knows, please correct me if I'm wrong!

    May 12, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  8. Me

    I care for the dog but that doesn't mean I don't care for the family and the tragedy that they were met with.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  9. The Dark Lord Approaches

    The White Knight and Dark Lord crossed paths one day near a fiery wrath of the wretched.

    The White Knight slowly looked upon the Dark Lord and thus spoke the only truth known to man. The White Knight sayeth unto thee Dark Lord, "Hey did you hear about those 5 dollar footlongs at Subway". The Dark Lord glanced with a distant stare yet spoke slow and trembled the earth with his Dark Words, "Yea I did hear about those. I like the Turkey on White with Provelone"

    Thus the White Knight deemed it good and the two lords approached subway hand in hand forever ending hate and misery between people and things.

    THis was deemed good but impossible to ever happen with those with differing opinions because there is absolutly no give and take when dealing with religious nuts.

    Luke 4:32

    May 12, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. Confused

    I am confused. Which God are we talking about. The one who is meriiful and loving or the god of rath?

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

    God didn't do this. Sometimes horrible things happen to good people.

    For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

    Jeremiah 29:11

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

    @MommaSue, a house fell on them and you think that was painless? Ohmygod, oh please!

    May 12, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. Margroks

    Yeah, that's right, I am concerned about the family dog who was lucky enough to survive becasue he will be traumatized and not understanding where his beloved family and his home went. Being concerned for animals, who are, after all, also God's creature's, does not in any way diminish the horror and sadness I feel for the family that died. Caring for all other living creatures is what makes us human. Compassion is what this poor dog needs and I'm certain his family would want him cared for. I knew as soon as I read that earlier commetn where someone was concerned for the dog someone would ahve to gripe about it. If you don't care about the dog then you disrespect the family that loved and sheltered him. THere's plenty of compassion to go around.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. Marc

    All thinking men are atheists. — Ernest Hemingway
    Lighthouses are more helpful then churches. — Benjamin Franklin
    Faith means not wanting to know what is true. — Friedrich Nietzsche

    May 12, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. Marc

    Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. — Denis Diderot

    A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows. — Samuel Clemens

    May 12, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
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