The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) says several people were attempting to clear storm-related debris from a road in Rivière-Éternité, Que., when the landslide happened at around 1:30 p.m. and flood waters swept them away.
Authorities say the Éternité River overflowed and then the landslide swept away three people who were outside of their cars clearing the road. Environment Canada reported a rainfall of about 130 millimetres had taken place within two hours.
One of the three, a man in his 40s, was rescued. Officials say he suffered serious injuries and was transported to hospital where he remains in critical condition.
Environment Canada reported a rainfall of about 130 millimetres had taken place within two hours.
The two others, a man and a woman, are still missing.
The SQ says search teams have deployed a helicopter and divers to look for them on the ground and in the water. “At its highest point, the river swelled to four times its normal size,” said police spokesman Sgt. Hugues Beaulieu.
The Rivière-Éternité municipality has declared a state of emergency and advised its 400 residents to evacuate. A provincial highway running through the town has been closed due to erosion as a result of the storm.
“The river swelled to four times its normal size.”
Drinking water is currently not available in the evacuated area, Mayor Rémi Gagné said, and will have to be reconnected before people can return.
Quebec’s transport ministry said major work is required and the road will remain closed throughout the day and possibly longer.
Climate crisis experts and a recent IPCC report say the harms of the warming planet will become more frequent, including extreme weather and storms, rising waters, flash floods and infrastructure incapable of handling such weather events.
–with files from The Canadian Press