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Sink hole: The bodies of four members of a family who went missing after their house was swallowed on Monday night have been found. The disaster took place in the village of Saint-Jude, north of Montreal
Devastation: The Prefontaine family were watching an ice hockey game when the landslide hit
'They were found very close to
another, some of them lying on the couch in the family room in the
body found belonged to father Richard Prefontaine. The others were his
wife Lynne Charbonneau and daughters Anais, nine, and Amelie, believed
to be 11.
tore a hole more than four times the size of a football field into
Saint-Jude, a verdant village near Montreal.
Sink holes can occur when water undermines an area of land or when rock below the land surface shifts.
Giant: The landslide tore a hole more than four times the size of a football field
This particular sink hole ate up
three cars, one stretch of a concrete road and most of the house that
once sat by a cliff over a tributary of the Yamaska River. The landslide
pulled down that cliff.
Rescue workers struggled for almost a full day - at times digging with their hands - to enter a home that was mostly buried in mud with only its green roof left peeking out.
Fire department spokesman Francois Gregoire said: 'It's a pretty gigantic crater. It's hard imagining something like this. It's pretty impressive.'
The family's lush green yard was transformed into an undulating mess of tangled trees, grass and clay blocks.
Search: Rescue workers struggled for most of yesterday - at times digging with their hands - to enter the home that was mostly buried in mud
Yves de Bellefeuille said the
incident had the small village in shock, especially since the home is
not in an area considered to be especially at risk.
The St. Lawrence and Ottawa valleys
are laden with clay deposited in low coastal areas during the last Ice
The clay is very
sensitive and, if disturbed, it can lose its physical strength and
liquefy, causing its slope to collapse and the land to slide.
Natural Resources Canada said clay earth-flows have caused 100 deaths in modern times, including the destruction of two Quebec towns - Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette in 1908 and St-Jean-Vianney in 1971.
Aftermath: The incident has left the small village of Saint-Jude in shock, especially since the home is not in an area considered to be especially at risk
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