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. yea

    House did not sink, its the only place in the world that didnt blow up.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. yasmin

    I have a 9 year old daughter sweet like honey, it really breaks my heart when something like this happens. will send a pray for you.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Abdal-Latif

    The jokes about this are pretty heartless...two little children were killed in this event and probably asphyxiated, not a good way to go. But the geology nerds are right: this is not due to oil drilling or the US Corps of Engineers (since, for one thing, it happened in Canada), neither is it a sign of the End Times.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Patrick

    Sinkholes aren't "strange". There was moving water under the house that eroded the soil under the house. usually caused by poor building decisions, busted pipes, mishandling of runoff, etc.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Laura

    omg, this sounds like a horror movie. I hope this poor family is ok!!

    May 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Abdal-Latif

    Interestingly, a similar unfortunate event may have led to the death and fossilization of the "Australopithecus sediba" fossils recently discovered by Lee Berger (actually by little Matthew Berger) in South Africa. And that was more than 2 million years ago! But thank God, these kinds of events are very rare.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Grandma Evelyn

    Chad, you have restored my faith in mankind. Thank you for a note of sanity and reason among the trash. All of these naysayers, finger-pointers, and fear mongers are really what we have to fear – not our beautiful planet and its ever-changing landscape. I would suggest that those of us who choose to do so should offer a prayer for the family and leave it at that.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jds

    Did anyone else think Poltergeist when they saw this?

    May 11, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John McCain

    It's all Sara Palin's fault

    May 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob

    Many of the comments here have allot to do with why I'm so leery of the people obsessed with environmentalism. They seem to think that the world never changes! That the atmosphere, shore lines, volcanoes never changed or caused damage until man arrived. Never mind that they completely ignore four recorded events of massive global extinction, the creation of mountain ranges or the continents, and so on. The fact that some think a volcano in Iceland that erupts like clockwork is odd, or that sinkholes outside of Montréal are caused by oil drilling...it’s scary how out of touch people are with the most basic science and history.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Steverino

    To Rupert, Mike and others shouting about how sinkholes are the 'natural' result of eroding limestone. What mining / oil company do you guys work for? What dissolves limestone? Moving liquid, usually water. Where would that liquid be going? Elsewhere. Why? In many case, the as result of rapid depletion of underground aquifers by a burgeoning population. AND, the evacuation of huge amounts (billions of cubic meters) of natural gas and oil in geographically 'nearby' locations. Create a void in the earth by removing one thing and something else moves in – from somewhere else – to fill it. What's left behind is still a void. Yes, it's true, many sinkholes are caused by natural cave collapses. But it's also true that many sinkholes are the inevitable result of man's impact on the earth. To deny that is not only disingenuous, it's ignorant.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Andy

    Patric. That would be one heck of a burst pipe dont you think? Did you even look at the picture. Are you a geoligist or a home inspector by chance?

    May 11, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. lee

    Say what you may but all indicates the end of times is near.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Moochie

    I feel bad for this poor family. Hopefully, they are alive will be rescued.

    As for the rest of you doomsday commentors, maybe you should just get off the internet and go for a walk in the sunshine.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John McCain

    Well yeah, the end of my lunch hour is near. Time to get back to reality.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
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