Road collapse in Rivière-Éternité leaves two missing, one critically injured

Road collapse in Rivière-Éternité leaves two missing, one critically injured

Two individuals went missing on July 1, 2023, after a road in Rivière-Éternité, Quebec, Canada, gave way due to a landslide triggered by a river surge. The pair, along with a man now in critical condition, were clearing debris after a thunderstorm when the incident occurred.

Two people have gone missing after a major landslide caused a road to collapse in Rivière-Éternité, a town in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region on July 1, located approximately 170 km (105.6 miles) northeast of Quebec City.

The tragic incident occurred when two men and a woman, engaged in clearing the road of debris after a severe thunderstorm, were swept away by the sudden surge in river water. The provincial police (SQ) informed that one of the men, aged in his 40s, was rescued and is currently in critical condition at Chicoutimi Hospital.

According to Environment Canada, about 130 mm (5.1 inches) of rain fell over the area within just two hours.l

As of July 2, the search operation for the missing duo was still in progress. Multiple resources including a helicopter, divers, ATV drivers, and foot patrollers have been deployed to ensure a thorough search. Route 170, where the incident took place, remains closed on Sunday morning as restoration work is actively underway. A tweet from Transport Quebec read, “Major work is underway to restore safe traffic as quickly as possible.”

On the evening of the incident, the municipality of Rivière-Éternité, home to approximately 400 residents, declared a state of emergency. Evacuations were carried out in the afternoon, with officials stating in an 8:00 press release that more evacuations are anticipated.

The release further informed, “Torrential rains have caused road closures on rue Principale, rue Sainte-Thérèse, in the Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay, landslides and loss of electricity.” Moreover, the area between Saguenay and Tadoussac was under a tornado warning mid-day Saturday as violent thunderstorms hit the region, amplifying the crisis.

References:

1 Two missing after landslide in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Que. – CTV News – July 2, 2023

2 2 people missing after torrential rain in Quebec causes landslide – Global News – July 2, 2023

Featured image credit: Global News (stillshot)

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