Five French people, missing after a snowmobile accident in Quebec, are still wanted by the authorities this Thursday. - AFP
The five French people, missing on Tuesday in a snowmobile accident during an excursion in northern Quebec, are still missing this Thursday.
The accident occurred Tuesday, early in the evening, at the mouth of a river from Lac Saint-Jean, where the ice gave way under the weight of several snowmobiles. This danger zone, where the ice is thinner, is formally not recommended by all professionals.
"It is not impossible that they have found refuge somewhere"
Two snowmobiles similar to those used by missing tourists were found at the bottom of the water in this area in the late afternoon, but no body was discovered nearby, police said. Tourists and their guide, who died in the accident, may have wanted to take a shortcut to their final destination, media reports said. "This sector was not part of a marked trail, they were off-piste," said a spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec, Hugues Beaulieu.
Significant research, with the help of divers and two helicopters, was conducted all day Wednesday in the east of the lake, located about 225 km north of Quebec City. They are expected to continue through the night, said police spokesperson Béatrice Dorsainville. Only the underwater and helicopter searches were suspended in the evening and will resume on Thursday. "We keep hope," she said late in the evening. "It is not impossible that they have found refuge somewhere and that they have no means of communicating with us."
French people from Haut-Rhin, Alsace and Vosges
The three other French tourists who survived were hospitalized in an establishment in the city of Alma. "They are in good health, they suffered some frostbite and a nervous shock," said Hugues Beaulieu. The French Deputy Consul General in Quebec, Laurent Barbot, who visited the site, told journalists that the missing French tourists "come from the East of France", without further details. According to the France 3 Grand Est television channel, the three survivors are from the Haut-Rhin department. The five missing tourists, aged 24 to 58, are from Alsace or Vosges, reports the chain.
The Alsatian daily newspaper Nouvelles Nouvelles d'Alsace indicates that five of the eight French tourists were "a group of friends" from the Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines region in the Haut-Rhin and "left for Canada on Sunday" . In the early afternoon, one of the police helicopters crashed into the icy lake. The injured pilot was hospitalized but his life is not in danger, police said.
An open investigation
The search had started Tuesday evening after three of the group's tourists had raised the alarm: one of them had just fallen into the icy waters. Quickly called in as reinforcements, the police and the army found the expedition guide, a 42-year-old Montrealer who had also fallen into the water. The man, Benoît L'Espérance, accredited guide, died in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday in the hospital.
"People who know the place know that you should not go to this area because the ice is very fragile due to the currents," Gaétan Gagné, president of the Lac Saint-Motoneigistes club told Radio-Canada. Jeans. The Acting Minister of Public Safety in the Quebec government, Andrée Laforest, announced the opening of an investigation. "We must find the missing as soon as possible," she said during a press briefing. "The government has been in contact with the French authorities since this morning and the families will be notified. "
Quebec: Two French tourists die by snowmobile
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