Three missing Quebec men rescued from wooded area by police helicopter

In this file photo,  an SQ helicopter goes on a rescue mission on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.
In this file photo, an SQ helicopter goes on a rescue mission on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Quebec provincial police officers used cables to lower themselves from a helicopter into a remote wooded area on Saturday to rescue three men who had been missing since Tuesday.

Leon Drapeau, 75, Pierre Barriere, 57, and Ronald Filion, 78, were reported missing earlier this week after failing to return from what was supposed to be a day trip to a lake about 200 kilometres northeast of Quebec City.

A citizen called 911 at around 10 a.m. on Saturday after finding one of the men lying unconscious in the woods outside Saint-Athanase, in Quebec’s Bas-Saint-Laurent region.

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Police rescuers looking for a safe place to land were lowered from a helicopter to a nearby cabin.

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By chance, they found the other two missing men in the cabin, suffering from hunger and dehydration, according to provincial police spokesman Claude Doiron.

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They later found the third man a good distance away in a “difficult to access” area, Doiron said.

The men in the cabin were given food and water and airlifted to hospital, where officials said their condition was stable.

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The third man, who was taken from the woods on a stretcher pulled by an all-terrain vehicle, was in critical condition as of Saturday afternoon.

Police have not specified which of the men is in more serious condition.

The location of their vehicle remains unknown.