Tuesday, when significant spring flooding slammed areas of the province, the Quebec Provincial Police confirmed that two firefighters were still missing. It is believed that they were swept away by increasing river floods.
François Legault, the premier of Quebec, warned residents in the affected areas to use caution and called the disappearance of the first responders—who it is assumed were swept away by the swollen river—”tragic.”
On Route 138 in St-Urbain, northeast of Quebec City, the two firefighters apparently vanished on Monday afternoon as they were attempting to help locals whose homes were flooded. In Charlevoix, a protracted search effort is still in progress. Sûreté du Québec spokesperson Béatrice Dorsainville said at a news conference Tuesday that aerial and nautical teams are combing the area. Police officers are also on foot and in vehicles to search the riverbanks.
On social media, Bill Blair, Canada’s minister of preparedness for emergencies, expressed his condolences to the families of the missing firefighters. He also advised the people of Charlevoix to “please follow the guidance from your local authorities and stay safe.” According to Baie-Saint-Paul, several streets are off-limits on Tuesday, schools are closed, and locals have been advised to stay home. People who had to leave their homes can only go back if the authorities give the all clear.
In order to aid in the search, CH-146 Griffon helicopters and a CC-130 Hercules aircraft were also sent by the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre. A ship from the Canadian Coast Guard is also present to offer assistance.