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. Laura AE

    Sorry but sink holes, earthquakes and the like have been occurring since earth was formed. It isn't just a recent thing, and they aren't necessarily on the rise all of a sudden (as much as religious zealots would love to think they are a result of sinners so they can scare more people into believing). The earth goes through phases where earthquakes, volcanos, etc. occur more frequently than "normal" but once again this has been happening since earth came to be.

    Also, no one is 100% safe, ever. Everyone dies. No matter how hard people try to protect themselves by living in a bubble-packed world, they can never be free of every threat that exists. I would think this would be obvious but apparently it isn't. You cannot protect yourself from every little thing out there.

    May 11, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Laura AE

    Also, I am sure they would have found the family already if they could. Asking "Why don't they do this?" is a little futile, don't you think? If they could rescue them ASAP they surely would. I am willing to bet they have plenty of people on this trying to figure out any way possible to rescue these people.

    May 11, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Carla

    If anyone has seen The Life of Brian (Monty Python), the market scene with all of the prophets proselytizing just about sums it up. There have always been people claiming the end of the world is near and those that will say it in the future.

    I am a big fan of studying history. There have always been freak disasters and senseless deaths. The few sane people here indicating that our technological advances make disasters seem more frequent, thumbs up!!

    Truely unfortunate for the family, though! My thoughts are with them.

    May 11, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. 1lorn

    Know-it-alls, religious fanatics and Tom idiots! Oh My!!

    May 11, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nelson Blair

    Maybe it has something to do with the fact these houses are placed right on top of an ancient Indian burial ground

    May 11, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe Geologist

    Okay, okay. Mary Vegan, you were very good, but I think we have to award the prize to Dean Kinney. Haven't laughed so hard in ages, thanks.

    May 11, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MrRyan

    How about communications have improved drastically even in the last five years or compared to the last fifty. Would it be possible (and it is exactly it) that you just hear more about what is going on with real time communication. Open up your history books and read and you will find stuff like this has been going on for a long time, At one time Wisconsin was covered by Ice and last time I checked the melt and freeze process, sinkholes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, have been going on for a long time. Check out 1883 eruption of Krakatoa if that happen today all you goof balls would be yelling end of days. Try going for a run or reading a book it is a much better hobby then all the worry and fuss. May be its black magic? LOL

    May 11, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Hey...RPGUY!

    Florida is SAFE?! Yeah...it always makes me feel safe to be about two feet above sea level! Nooooo, thanks!

    May 11, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John D

    They're probably in the sink hole if they're missing.

    May 11, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jeff

    Family missing??? Maybe they should try looking in the house. Nobody has bothered to check?

    May 11, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jakkabba

    they are Canadian so they didnt think to look in the house, of course haha!!

    May 11, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sparky

    Maybe the sinkhole ate your baby.

    May 11, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BrickellPrincess

    WOW! The first poster really needs to take his/her meds.

    May 11, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. AK

    In 1811 there was an earthquake centered on the town of New Madrid, Missouri. Tiny little burg even today, but back then Lewis and Clark's footprinte weren't even dry and the area was basically desertted. Matter of fact, William Clark, as Governor of the MO territiory, made what may be the first-ever request for Federal disaster relief. Small towns disappeared, the devastation to a basicaly empty area was tremendous. Shocks were felt for 50,000 (yes that's 50,00) square miles. Church bells rang in Boston. Streets cracked in Washington, DC. If it happened today, the disaster would be incalculable.

    Point is, this kind if thing happens all the time in the world. And apoclyptics – or their Paster Fred's who see opportunity in fear-mongering – will always ride the coattails of disaster. Just like on this board.

    For the record I am a believer...just not a psycho paranoiac.

    May 11, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rico

    this is such a sad news. I pray that all the family members will survived.

    May 11, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
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