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. HackSaw

    That's it!!....Lost will end with sinkholes! The numbers are bad!

    May 12, 2010 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. Diane

    No words can express how sad I feel for the outcome in this situation. My condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased. Such a tragedy! I am deeply sorry! Gpd rest the souls of Richard Prefontaine, his wife and their two children (as well as the family dog). Vous etes tous dans mes prieres. :_(

    May 12, 2010 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  3. carolyn

    The whole family is confirmed dead. So very sad for all of our Montreal friends.

    May 12, 2010 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. Canucklehead


    I cannot believe how many whacked-out, uneducated, blinded by 'faith', bible thumpers are putting in their inane and illogical thoughts and ideas into this.

    I guess in their dim minds if you only prayed 99 times that day and should have prayed 100 times then clearly you deserve to have yourself and your innocent children brutally murdered by your own loving god.

    For all those wonderful Christians who are waiting for God to take them up to heaven... I am all with you! The sooner you all get 'called away' the better for the rest of us. I can only hope that each and every one of you gets to make that journey to heaven very very soon... Your insane Christian extremist logic and destructive ideas cause more strife, misery and heartbreak than all of the natural disasters combined. From what I read here, you are all fanatics with no concept of reality. You blame others for your own pathetic ignorance and don't even realize how stupid and illogical you are. You contribute nothing to the world but intolerance, division and ignorance.

    And the phrase "God gave you common sense"... is an oxymoron!!

    May 12, 2010 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. tim

    "May the allmighty God protect this family and give the much needed comfort to their relatives. For my part I will pray for them and peace."

    And they will still be dead.

    Poor family. But... stuff happens. Live your life like today is the last day of it. It might be.

    tim in san jose

    May 12, 2010 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. jeff

    I really feel bad for the family. BUT! GOD is coming back to take over the world. This is his earth and he made the earth, man has had their chance to run it and almost destroyed it. HE is coming back to save the earth sooner than you think. dec,21,2012 GOD BLESS ALL THAT FOLLOWS HIM.....

    May 12, 2010 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. Los Angeles

    I am French Canadian from the region of Québec and their local newscasts revealed not so long ago that all four bodies were retrieved. I was hoping for them to be found alive. Very sad. The google street view page of this family’s home address also showed the most beautiful place for a family to live in. And all this and their lives erased so suddenly. Unfortunate.

    To Herpes:
    I wonder what exactly, for your better judgment, made you think and decide that this was worth some genius 5 minutes of your time to write this elaborate and amazing explanation? That’s def. some few seconds i regret spending time reading...

    May 12, 2010 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kris Wood

    >>Player 1: F7 – Miss
    >>Player 2: C3 – Hit
    >>Player 1: D5 – Miss
    >>Player 2: C4 – You sunk my hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooome!
    >>Posted by: Brandon


    May 12, 2010 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. mlrs138

    dude, im so sorry bout this family, but accidents do happen, anyways reading the comments, i realized thats theres a lot of wackos out there... and for jeff, i dont really know what GOD has to do with a mayan prophecy has is the 2012 thing, winch i dont believe in , any ways just some quick info, the mayans were politeist winch means that they had several gods, and if im not mistaken u writing bout GOD, jesus dad, wich has nothing to do with 2012.....

    May 12, 2010 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. joe

    Wow, lots of bible thumpers out there.

    I think this is because of that recent boobquake experiment.

    May 12, 2010 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. FeteChef

    Watch a mudslide captured on video in the same region in 1971. they happen a lot in Quebec, but this one swallowed half the city. The narration is in French.

    May 12, 2010 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. Stephen

    This region of Quebec and neighboring Ontario has a layer of unstable clay, called the Leda Clay, laid down during the retreat of the glacial ice sheet thousands of years ago. The clay becomes unstable when fresh water percolates through over time and the whole layer liquefies. You can find landslide scars all over the area from past failures, and a large one happened about 15 years ago at Lemieux, Ontario. There have been quite a few deaths over the past 150 years. Yes, I am a geologist from the area.

    May 12, 2010 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. Bernie

    Jose Mojica, a little late for the "may God protect them" thing. And as far as U.S. Army of Engineers being the ones to blame, note that the accident happened in Canada. And I don't buy this whole "disasters happen all the time, we just know about them instantly nowadays." Bull@#$!! Something is happening to this planet and we're all gonna get swallowed up!!!

    May 12, 2010 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  14. rotorhead

    The real tragedy in this story is the fact that Mary Vegan is allowed to vote. I think we've found out who "dumb and dumber" really is!!

    May 12, 2010 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. Sully

    What a terrible way to go....

    Watching hockey...

    May 12, 2010 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
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