Man and young girl miss­ing af­ter ve­hi­cle drifts into river

Cape Breton Post - - Canada -

More than 1,500 sol­diers hit the ground Mon­day to help Que­be­cers deal with “his­toric” flood­ing that has caused wide­spread dam­age and evac­u­a­tions and sparked a des­per­ate search for a man and a tod­dler whose ve­hi­cle sw­erved off a wa­ter­logged road into a surging river.

The heavy cur­rent pulled the car to­ward the Sainte-Anne River in eastern Que­bec and its oc­cu­pants fell into the wa­ter when the ve­hi­cle flipped, said pro­vin­cial po­lice Sgt. Claude Do­iron.

A woman who was in the car was able to save her­self.

“For now, there’s no ev­i­dence that has been found that can lead us to the dis­cov­ery of these two peo­ple,” said Do­iron.

He said the man was try­ing to help peo­ple who were trapped in the area.

A po­lice he­li­copter and divers were to help in the search, which con­tin­ued as Que­bec’s pub­lic se­cu­rity min­is­ter said wa­ter lev­els across the prov­ince were ex­pected to peak be­tween Mon­day and Wed­nes­day.

Au­thor­i­ties ex­pect the wa­ter to start re­ced­ing by mid-week, said Martin Coi­teux.

“What’s en­cour­ag­ing is that the wa­ter lev­els will stop climb­ing,” Coi­teux told a news con­fer­ence in Mon­treal. “It’s very im­por­tant to re­it­er­ate that. We are reach­ing max­i­mum lev­els.

“The wa­ter lev­els in the flooded ar­eas should start go­ing down Wed­nes­day. It may start ear­lier in cer­tain sec­tors. But these lev­els are very high... so pa­tience is re­quired. But I know it’s hard.”

Heavy rains and melt­ing

snow­pack across Que­bec have so far flooded 2,426 res­i­dences in the prov­ince, forc­ing the evac­u­a­tion of 1,520 peo­ple in al­most 150 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

“We’re talk­ing about his­toric lev­els of wa­ter,” said Que­bec En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter David Heur­tel. “We haven’t seen this in more than 55 years.”

Heur­tel said there were “en­cour­ag­ing signs” in the Ou­taouais re­gion, near the On­tario bor­der, where wa­ter lev­els were ris­ing more slowly than be­fore.

Na­tional De­fence said ap­prox­i­mately 800 ad­di­tional troops were de­ployed in the prov­ince on Sun­day, join­ing more than 400 Cana­dian Forces mem­bers al­ready as­sist­ing with the flood ef­fort.

Some 1,650 sol­diers in all were ex­pected to be help­ing in the flood ef­fort by the end of the day Mon­day.

The troops, along with air­craft and a dozen boats, were aid­ing com­mu­ni­ties across Que­bec, sev­eral of which were un­der states of emer­gency, in­clud­ing Mon­treal and its north­ern sub­urbs.

“We are be­ing ready to be re­spon­sive in any form or shape that is re­quired to meet the task,” said Brig.-Gen. Her­cule Gos­selin. “So I have no con­cern, what­so­ever, that we’re go­ing to be able to an­swer the call from civil se­cu­rity.

“More than 90 per cent of all the troops are on the front lines work­ing with fire­fight­ers, po­lice of­fi­cers and vol­un­teers help­ing peo­ple.”

In the western Que­bec com­mu­nity of Gatineau, 380 res­i­dences were evac­u­ated and some fed­eral em­ploy­ees were ad­vised not to go to work on Mon­day be­cause of the flood­ing.

Some parts of eastern On­tario were also hit hard by flood­ing, and Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment was re­spond­ing to a re­quest from the On­tario gov­ern­ment for “ad­di­tional flood mit­i­ga­tion re­sources.”

Goodale noted the re­quest did not in­clude mil­i­tary help.

In At­lantic Canada, some parts of New Brunswick recorded more than 150 mil­lime­tres of rain af­ter a nearly 36-hour non-stop down­pour. And while the del­uge ta­pered off early Sun­day, New Brunswick’s St. John River had spilled its banks, forc­ing sev­eral road clo­sures.

Mean­while in Bri­tish Columbia, two men re­mained miss­ing as flood­ing con­tin­ued to plague the prov­ince’s In­te­rior.

CP PHOTO

Ile Mercier cov­ered in flood­wa­ter is seen on the Riv­iere des Prairies on the north part of Mon­treal Mon­day. The bridge lead­ing to the is­land is closed with its res­i­dents evac­u­ated.

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