- According to provincial police, a tragic incident unfolded during a fishing trip in a northeastern Quebec village on Saturday, resulting in the deaths of four children.
- The group, consisting of 11 people who were fishing for capelin on foot near the shore, was caught off guard by the rising tide.
- After an emergency call reported the group had been swept up by the tide, authorities discovered the unresponsive bodies of the four children.
A fishing excursion ended in tragedy on Saturday when four children died in a village in northeastern Quebec, provincial police said.
Authorities said they were still searching for a missing man in his 30s who was a member of the fishing party and remained unaccounted for.
The bodies of the four children — all minors older than 10 — were found unresponsive on the river bank a few hours after authorities received an emergency call about a group that had been swept up by the tide near Portneuf-sur-Mer, about 341 miles northeast of Montreal.
They were among a group of 11 people who were fishing for capelin on foot near the shore when they were caught off guard by the rising tide.
Quebec provincial police divers and Canadian Forces members took part in the search for the missing adult.
Mayor Jean-Maurice Tremblay said Saturday he did not know more about the victims or if they were from Portneuf-sur-Mer, a community of about 600 people.
“Everyone is affected by what happened, because this kind of event, it’s the first time it’s happened,” Tremblay said in French. “When it involves five people, and four children drowning during a recreational activity, it’s certain people are quite sad about it.”
Capelin — a silvery smelt fish — are a forage species consumed by many marine animals, and Tremblay said fishing for them is a popular activity in his part of Quebec’s north shore. It is done on the banks of the river using scoops rather than fishing lines.
Capelin most often roll at night, so people light a fire on the shore and wait, Tremblay added.
Tremblay said the sandbank on which the victims were fishing is accessed by all-terrain vehicles. They were caught on a part of the peninsula where parts can be submerged by up to four meters of water when the tide rises.
A 911 call came in at about 2 a.m. on Saturday, and police say six people were rescued from the water and five others were reported missing — the four victims and the missing man.
The bodies of the four children were transported to a nearby health clinic where a doctor confirmed their deaths.
Police investigators and forensic teams have been deployed to shed light on what happened.