4 children dead, man missing after being swept away by tides in Quebec

PORTNEUF-SUR-MER, Quebec — Four children died and a man is missing after they were caught by the tide while fishing in the Canadian province of Quebec on Saturday, authorities said.

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The bodies of the children -- all juveniles older than 10 years old -- were found unresponsive on the riverbank a few hours after an emergency call about a group swept up by the tide near Portneuf-sur-Mer, CTV News reported. Authorities said they were still searching for a missing man in his 30s, the news organization reported.

According to the Sûreté du Québec, the victims were among a group of 11 people fishing for capelin on foot near the shore of the St. Lawrence River, the Montreal Gazette reported. They were caught off guard and swept away by the rising tide, according to CTV News.

The area is located about 300 miles northeast of Montreal, The Washington Post reported. Six other people were rescued after crews were called to the area at about 2 a.m. on Saturday, according to the newspaper.

Mayor Jean-Maurice Tremblay said Saturday he did not know more about the victims or if they were from Portneuf-sur-Mer, a town of about 600 people.

“Everyone is affected by what happened, because this kind of event, it’s the first time it’s happened,” Tremblay told CTV News. “When it involves five people, and four children drowning during a recreational activity, it’s certain people are quite sad about it.”

Tremblay said the sandbank where the victims were fishing from can be accessed by all-terrain vehicles, the news outlet reported. The victims were caught in an area of a peninsula where parts can be submerged by up to 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 13 feet of water when the tide rises.

Marilène Gill, a member of parliament who represents part of Quebec, called the incident a “tragedy,” the Post reported.

“My mother’s heart is with you and my whole team is available,” she wrote on Twitter.

A team of divers, police officers on ATVs, a coast guard helicopter and the Canadian Armed Forces continue to search for the missing adult, the Gazette reported.

During a news conference, Kateri Champagne Jourdain, a member of the National Assembly of Quebec, offered her support, according to the newspaper.

“Our hearts go out to you,” Jourdain said.

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