May 11th, 2010
11:07 AM ET

Report: At least 2 in family die after sinkhole swallows home

[Update 9:59 p.m. ET] Two members of a family whose home was swallowed by a sinkhole were found dead Tuesday evening, officials said, CNN affiliate CBC reports.

The condition of two other family members was not available. All four members of the family were found in the basement of the home, Michel C. Doré, Quebec's associate deputy public security minister,told the CBC.

[Update 2:49 p.m. ET] The mud-caked dog of a Canadian family has been found in a sinkhole that swallowed their home, but searchers have found no signs of the couple and their two daughters, ages 9 and 11, CNN affiliate CBC reported Tuesday afternoon.

Yvon Desrochers, uncle of homeowner Richard Préfontaine, told CBC he fears his nephew and his family were in the home’s 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.

[Posted  11:07 a.m. ET] A Quebec family of four was missing Tuesday after a massive sinkhole swallowed their home, according to reports from CNN affiliates.

Authorities said the home fell 30 feet into the hole when it opened around 9:30 p.m. Monday. A couple in their 40s and two children, ages 9 and 11, were believed to be inside, according to a report by CNN affiliate CBC news.

The couple’s vehicles were seen outside the house and efforts to reach them by cell phone were unsuccessful, authorities told the CBC.

"We tried to reach them by phone, because the father always wears his cellphone on him," Quebec Provincial Police Sgt. Ronald McKinnis told CBC. "The firefighters heard the cellphone, but they weren't able to [locate] it."

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 about 40 miles northeast of Montreal, CNN affiliate CTV reported.

McKinnis told the CBC that the hole was first reported by a truck driver whose rig fell into it Monday night. He suffered only minor injuries, McKinnis said.

Search-and-rescue dogs were being called in to help the search, according to a report in the Montreal Gazette, and a helicopter was circling the area looking for signs of movement.

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Filed under: Canada
soundoff (335 Responses)
  1. Paul

    Strange events are occurring all over this world today. We remove oil, water, gas, etc. from the earth and then we get sink holes or lakes that drain. Some are caused by broken drains, waterlines, etc ... Makes one wonder if anywhere is safe.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. tam

    Paul, strange events have always been happening. That's nature and life. It's just that we hear about them instantly!

    May 11, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. Lila

    I am sincerely Praying for this family!

    May 11, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jethro Tatro

    I hate when this happens!!!!

    May 11, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. Edwin

    Since when do sinkholes just open up under a house??

    I tell you - they are one of the scariest things in the world to me - tornados may be deadlier, but at least they happen above ground and you usually have warning.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tadepalli

    Pray that they are found safe. Time to consider if sink holes are covered by Insurance or whether they come under acts of god.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mary vegan in illinois

    There is nothing natural about sink hole???The reason there is flooding+sink holes is because the US army of engineers (dumb + dumber)have over there the decades okay'd the filling in of swamps!!Swamps are natures large fill in a swamp or put in a dam YOU ARE messing with mother earth + nature.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. RPguy

    FL is safe!!! move to the sunshine state!!!

    May 11, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. joe

    sink holes do have interesting insurance claim problem.. the insurance company may try to determine when a sink hole started.. it might have been years before the house fell.. guess what date they use to determine the houses value?.. yep.. except for the last few years it worked in the insurance companies favor..

    May 11, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Eduardo

    Never seen something like that.

    May 11, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Carol

    My thoughts and prayers go out to this missing family and their loved ones.
    But I do doubt this is the work of the US army of engineers as this happened in Canada! Perhaps their evil twin the Canadian army of engineers?

    May 11, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. colyn

    mary vegan:

    ummm pretty sure that US army of engineers hasn't been doing any of that stuff in CANADA where this story takes place.

    dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb!!!!

    May 11, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tom

    Okay Mary vegas in Illinios, this happened in Canada. It's not the US Army of Engineers. Maybe it's George Bush's fault, huh? Eat another carrot. This is a natural distaster, and that is all. If the planet just swallows you like an oyster, just accept it. What a way to go! Condolences to the family and friends of the victims.

    May 11, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Robin Bray

    Large Sinkholes are the natural result of limestone weathering away over thousands of years not a bad pipe line or drilling for oil. We don't tap oil near the surface. Nearly every natural cave that is close to the surface will over time become a sinkhole if there is water flow in the area. Around large lakes formed by glaciers there are areas that are always rising and sinking. All of the UK is still rising after the last ice age retreat of glaciers.

    May 11, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. HillClimber

    I've often wondered if things of this nature are occurring more frequently or if we are just able to hear about them more. It would seem that events are happening more often and according to Biblical prophesy and that proffered by Edgar Cayce and other such luminaries, these are signs of the coming end. The earth is changing – in geography, in weather, in other things like seasons and even the length of days. Since the slow tilt of the earth began (the earth has tilted with the quake of 26Dec2004 in Indonesia and with other events like the Chile quake) events are more frequent and will continue to get worse. Sink holes are not that uncommon, broad area sinkholes have been rare though. This exceptional sink hole is a warning sign of more to come.

    May 11, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
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