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. Informed Reader...

    I don't think that's a sinkhole – but what is known as a "lateral slide/shift". As for human interference (oil, army, George Bush etc) – this is a pastoral area – not much going on there. The event is natural – houses built on earth that rests on clay and a very slight slope. Time and gravity does the rest, sadly.

    May 11, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Carole Clarke

    If they are pretty close to that river, underground feeders could have undermined the earth beneath the house and it caved in – sometimes there just isn't any warning. The hole will continue to widen until the sides are no longer worn away by moving underground water. They should break open the roof and enter the house that way and see if there are any survivors. The house and probably the contents are gone, just try to save the people.

    May 11, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cindy

    All four family members have been found and all are deceased. At least two of the family members were found still sitting on the couch. The two top floors of the house collapsed on top of them. The house was built on the property 15 years ago and there is to be an investigation as to rather proper geological surveys were performed..
    God Bless their souls.

    May 11, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mike cammalleri

    Look on the bright side, I scored twice and WE WON!!! Game 7 coming up!!!

    -Mike Cammalleri
    Montreal Canadiens

    May 11, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Shawn

    I will pray for them even though they are french.

    May 11, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. can't believe the morons who posted some of these comments

    I can't believe some of the things I read on here. I didn't read everything because I was afraid my IQ might drop a few points by the moronic things people wrote. I just wanted to say to Joe, I don't know if you are in Canada or not, but here in the US, insurance companies do not try & determine when the sinkhole started to determine the value of the home – the claim is based upon CURRENT repair costs. For those of that wrote the family was in the sinkhole – I think that was a given, they were hoping to find them. For the rest of you, geez, stop it already. And for RP Guy, uh, Florida has a lot of sinkholes & let's see, uh, hurricanes....yeah, safe.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Shawn

    Oil spills, earthquakes and sinkholes! This is the beginning of the end! Our savior is finally coming back! It’s been a few posts since someone posted a comment about blind faith so I thought I would.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. A montrealer

    The family is confirmed dead, It is a tragedy and a family lost.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sheila borntrager

    That is not a sink hole and clay does not trun into liquid that easy.There have been mini earthquakes going on in canada in the last year .There was one today and one in the last week by looking at the video it is not a sink hole .Landslides are also caused by earthquakes .

    May 11, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hedgehoginheat

    LOL! This story made me laugh. Haha. thanks I needed that:)

    May 11, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Grow Up

    Ugh, grow up. This is sad, it happens. There's flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes... none of which are humanity's fault, at least for the most part. People, if you're going to diss one religion, diss them all. There is no Cthulu, there is no Yahweh, there is no Zeus. No need to get personal by referring to one as a type of food, no matter how much you may crave it, else I may be forced to think of something witty for the sky zombie.

    I see that there are a few intelligent people posting here to quell the throng of people urging that it is the end of the world, and I applaud them. But for the rest of you, focus on what is actually the news. The earth got hungry and needed a light snack with plenty of fiber. Now let's move on please.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mat

    It's incredible to see how some americans can be so intelligent and others so stupid. A family died in the worst conditions when watching tv at home with each others. Just imagine your home falling in a 75 feet hole when you're in it. Who cares where they are from? It's a tragedy and deserve respect. Oh so they are from Canada, they are dumb and everything? Omg please go to school, make a trip away from USA, see some things, please educate yourself. I'm tired to read some ignorants making bad reputations for the great country that are the USA. A great country needs great people...

    May 11, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dan

    So tragically sad. Anyone that jokes about this is sick beyond help. My thoughts and prayers to the family and friends.

    May 11, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Emily

    my thoughts and prayers are with them...

    May 11, 2010 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. GUS


    May 11, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
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