Man and 4 Children Drown During Fishing Incident in Quebec: 'Everyone Is Gutted’

The group was among 11 people who were fishing for capelin, a type of fish found on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, during nighttime hours



A man and four children drowned while fishing along the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, over the weekend, authorities said.

Police in Portneuf-sur-Mer, a fishing village about 340 miles northeast of Montreal, were called to the area around 2 a.m. local time on Saturday after the five members of a group of 11 were caught unaware by the rising tide, according to The Canadian Press.

The group was fishing for capelin, a type of fish that is typically found along the shore, during nighttime hours, the outlet reported.

The children — minors older than age 10 — were found hours later, unresponsive on the riverbank. They were taken to an area medical facility, where they were pronounced dead, the Associated Press reported.

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Late Saturday night, authorities then also recovered the body of 37-year-old Keven Girard, Sgt. Béatrice Dorsainville told The Canadian Press.

Vivian Lavoie, Girard’s aunt, said his sons Patrick and Jérôme Girard were among the victims, per the news agency.

"Everyone is gutted," Lavoie told the outlet in French. "Everyone knows each other here. It's tight here. Everyone is affected, because we know them all."

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Those who were fishing Saturday night were on a peninsula that they accessed by all-terrain vehicles, Mayor Jean-Maurice Tremblay told the AP. When the tide rises, parts of the area can be submerged by roughly 13 feet of water, he said.

“Everyone is affected by what happened, because this kind of event, it's the first time it's happened," he said. "When it involves five people, and four children drowning during a recreational activity, it's certain people are quite sad about it."

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Now, family members and friends are mourning their loved ones — as is the small town where the tragedy occurred.

“The Municipality of Portneuf-sur-Mer and all the citizens unite in the same momentum to wish the bereaved families and their friends,” the town wrote on Facebook Saturday. “Our deepest condolences and thoughts are with you.”

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