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. mmi16

    The Earth move on!

    May 11, 2010 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NatTurner

    I know its Canada but how long before Limbaugh and conservative tea baggers blame this on Obama?

    May 12, 2010 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. Tony

    IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!!!! Doesn't matter. Us regular people aren't getting on any "arch" to save us when it really does happen. Let's just hope we don't fall into a 30 foot hole.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. mary

    Canadians are not stupid, we are a nation of people just like any other country and what happened to this family is tragic. My thoughts and prayers go out to them and their family and friends. What makes me laugh is that so many Americans have no clue where Canada is, how vast and beautiful our wonderful country is, that we love our homeland as much as the next person. But this story isn't about Canada or the US military or how stupid others can be. It's about a family that is quite possibly dead due to a tragic freak of nature and they deserve our prayers. Wake up people and show some heart.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sherry

    This is a very sad tragedy. Anyone making fun about this is a disturbed person. Based on everything lately happening around the truly makes you wonder what is next. My thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost their loved ones.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. deb

    get off all the bad things your saying and pray for that family to be safe alive if it was your family you would be we all need to treat each other like family and have a heart help each other no hurt words hurt to

    May 12, 2010 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. mary

    And to Shawn who said "I will pray for them even though they are French." I will pray for you even though you are stupid. What the hell does being french have to do with anything? Such an IDIOT!!

    May 12, 2010 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sherry

    I am Canadian and have been watching the news....they have confirmed 2 of the folks have perished and will release more information when they can. Nobody hoped they were found alive more than me.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  9. Since When

    What's with all the praying? Since when did sitting down ever get anything done? Good thoughts are nothing without good actions. Lets see people donate their precious funds to help the grieving family members who were not killed, or to fund the clean up, or fund research into why exactly this happened and how to prevent it.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  10. Melanie in Montreal

    News from Québec makes it on to and these comments are what the family of the deceased has to read? Vous devriez tous avoir honte!

    Show some some respect towards a population that forms one of your greatest allies. I doubt you'll find Canadians making ridiculous comments about lives lost in the TN floods, OK tornadoes or the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

    Mes sympathies à la famille des défunts et courage à tous les résidents de St-Jude.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. Canucklehead

    I agree with Jethro and Edwin. I don't know if sinkholes happen a lot in the USA but they happen often enough here. They are one of the scariest things to me too. I have seen small sinkholes but one this size is terrifying. When the ground opens up and swallows your house, with you in it, there is nothing you can really do to survive.

    Mary vegan: Sinkholes occur due to a number of reasons. I highly doubt that we can blame the US Army Enginneers for an incident in Canada. Sinkholes are usually the result of too much water flowing in the ground rather than a lack of it due to man made causes.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  12. Carey Hunt

    They are sometimes caused by disused mines collapsing deep underground.I wonder if that's what happened here.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff A

    Not sure if this is really 'sucked into a sink hole' though. Come on CNN... Praying for the family though – what a bummer of a way to go 🙁

    May 12, 2010 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. Are

    This happens in florida all the time. Its the limestone bedrock dissolution. Especially in the summer...

    May 12, 2010 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. Iceweb

    So Sad,
    Ive read all the posts, only a couple stuck out at me!
    My first thought too..., was look in hole , ripe off the roof!
    Pray they are in an air pocket !
    I liked the Civil Engineers comment , at least it gave me knowledge on this aspect of life !
    My heart goes out to the family that has to endure loss of their loved ones!

    So sorry for You loss !

    All my love .

    May 12, 2010 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
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