Quebec police find bodies of two of four missing French snowmobilers

ST-HENRI-DE-TAILLON, Que. — A Quebec provincial police search-and-rescue team retrieved the bodies of two more French snowmobilers who plunged into the water last Tuesday in the province’s Lac-Saint-Jean region.

Sgt. Hugues Beaulieu said the bodies were found late Sunday morning at a site more than three kilometres from where the initial search began.

Their names were not released.

The grim discovery raises the official death toll to four, while two snowmobilers remained missing as of Sunday afternoon.

A group of eight tourists from eastern France and their guide were travelling off-trail late last Tuesday when the ice gave way somewhere between St-Henri-de-Taillon and Alma. The 42-year-old guide was found in the hours following the accident and declared dead in hospital soon after.

While five men were originally missing, divers found the body of 58-year-old Gilles Claude on Friday, about two kilometres from where the first snowmobiles were located.

Beaulieu said dozens of police were involved in the search for the remaining men, which has involved drones, helicopters, boats, snowmobiles and three teams of divers. On Sunday, he indicated police had no intention of abandoning the search.

Earlier Sunday, police announced they had located the seventh and final submerged snowmobile that remained unaccounted for.

For reasons that remain unclear, the group left the safety of the marked trail through the woods and ventured towards the icy expanse of Lac-Saint-Jean, where the ice gave way sometime before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Two of the travelling party managed to save a third tourist who’d fallen into the water, and they made it to shore and alerted authorities.

Experienced local snowmobilers have described the area as extremely dangerous due to swift currents and thin ice, and warned against leaving the marked trails.

The five missing French snowmobilers were identified by police as Claude, Yan Thierry and Jean-Rene Dumoulin, both 24, Julien Benoit, 34, and Arnaud Antoine, 25.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan 26, 2020

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘So sorry,’ says driver guilty of gas-and-dash death

Mitchell Robert Sydlowski was charged with second-degree murder, but the 29-year old pleaded guilty to the lesser offence

84 new cases of COVID-19 reported Friday

1,036 active cases across Alberta, 10,796 recovered cases

Transit drivers wouldn’t enforce mask wearing

Transit union says making drivers enforce mask rules a “recipe for confrontation”

Cast your votes for Best of Red Deer

The Advocate’s Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are back. Community… Continue reading

Raffle will enhance lives of region’s women and girls

The Red Deer and District Community Foundation is hoping central Alberta can… Continue reading

Bo Horvat scores in overtime as Canucks beat Blues 4-3 in NHL playoff action

Bo Horvat scores in overtime as Canucks beat Blues 4-3 in NHL playoff action

Lewis, Munoz share lead at Ladies Scottish Open

Lewis, Munoz share lead at Ladies Scottish Open

Hoge in four-way tie for Wyndham lead after two rounds

Hoge in four-way tie for Wyndham lead after two rounds

Burakovsky scores late, Avalanche beat Coyotes 3-2

Burakovsky scores late, Avalanche beat Coyotes 3-2

“This win, it’s for you’: Minus head coach Claude Julien, Habs dominate Flyers

“This win, it’s for you’: Minus head coach Claude Julien, Habs dominate Flyers

Dallas Stars find scoring mojo, beat Calgary 5-4 to tie NHL playoff series

Dallas Stars find scoring mojo, beat Calgary 5-4 to tie NHL playoff series

Most Read