Police continue search for missing four snowmobilers from France

Quebec snowmobiling accident leaves 1 dead, 5 missing
A Montreal tour guide is dead and five tourists are missing after a snowmobile trip turned tragic in Quebec. Mike Armstrong explains what went so wrong.

Quebec provincial police are continuing the search for four French tourists who remain missing after a tragic snowmobile accident in the province’s Lac-Saint-Jean region.

Land, nautical and aerial searches resumed earlier today to find four men from eastern France who haven’t been seen since Tuesday night.

Police were initially looking for five missing men, but police divers pulled the body of Gilles Claude, 58, from the frigid waters on Friday about two kilometres from where four submerged snowmobiles were located.

Sgt. Hugues Beaulieu of the provincial police says the focus remains on finding the remaining missing men and several boats criss-crossed a 10-kilometre area as part of the search.

READ MORE: Pilot injured in SQ helicopter crash during search for missing French snowmobilers

A total of nine people — a guide from Montreal and eight men from France — were on the snowmobile trip.

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For reasons that remain unclear, the group left the safety of the marked trail through the woods and ventured towards the icy expanse of Lac-Saint-Jean, where the ice gave way somewhere between St-Henri-de-Taillon and Alma on Tuesday night.

The guide, Benoit L’Espérance, 42, of Montreal, was pulled from the water by rescuers and died in hospital early Wednesday.

Two of the travelling party managed to save a third tourist who’d fallen into the water and they made it to shore and alerted authorities.

The five missing French snowmobilers were identified by police as Claude, Yan Thierry and Jean-René Dumoulin, both 24, Julien Benoît, 34, and Arnaud Antoine, 25.

–With files from Global News’ Alessia Maratta

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