An unthinkable tragedy unfolded in a remote Quebec fishing village on Saturday when four children and one adult died while fishing for capelin. The tragedy began when 11 people — including four children, all older than 10 — took to the banks of the river in search of the fish using scoops rather than traditional lines.
As is common with capelin fishing, the group had lit a fire on the shore and began fishing at night, unaware of the impending danger of a rising tide. A 911 call came in at around 2 a.m. to report that the group had been unexpectedly swept up by the tide.
Quebec provincial police divers and Canadian Forces members responded to the emergency call and arrived at the scene in Portneuf-sur-Mer, a village of about 600 people located on the northeast coast of Canada, to find six people had been rescued and five others were reported missing.
After an exhaustive search, the unresponsive bodies of the four children were found and transported to a nearby health clinic for confirmation of their deaths.
As of Saturday afternoon, authorities were still searching for the missing man in his 30s, a member of the fishing party. However, news of the tragedy has already spread far and wide, leaving the community in shock and sadness. “When it involves five people, and four children drowning during a recreational activity, it’s certain people are quite sad about it”, said Mayor Jean-Maurice Tremblay, speaking to the fragility of life and importance of cherishing every moment.