Evacuated Residents Returning to Quebec Town Where Landslide Killed Two People

Evacuated Residents Returning to Quebec Town Where Landslide Killed Two People
People walk to city hall with their dog after they were evacuated from a campground, in Rivière-Éternité, Que., on July 2, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Jacques Boissinot)
The Canadian Press
A man who died after a landslide Saturday in Quebec’s Saguenay—Lac-St-Jean region has been identified as 48-year-old Pascal Héon, the provincial coroner’s office said Wednesday.

The identity of a second person whose body was found Tuesday has not yet been officially confirmed.

Divers found the two bodies in the Éternité River after a multi-day search around the town of Rivière-Éternité, Que. The search began when a man and a woman in their 40s were reported missing Saturday after torrential rain triggered landslides and flooding.
A provincial engineer said Tuesday that the victims were trying to clear debris from a small landslide off a road when a larger landslide hit and they were swept into the swollen river. One man managed to cling to a tree and was rescued.

Sandra Côté, the town’s managing director said on Wednesday it was safe for most evacuated residents to return to their homes. “We are in the process of returning all the people,” she said in an interview.

However, some homes have been damaged by water and mud and there were minor issues with some septic systems. Those homes will need to be disinfected before residents can return, she said.

A soil analysis did not show signs of landslide risks, Côté said. “When it comes to the ground, everything is correct, there are no problems anywhere.”

The drinking water supply has been reconnected in the affected zone, she added.

More than 50 residents were forced to leave their homes after Saturday’s storm dumped 130 millimetres of rain on the area in the span of two hours.