The village of St Jean Vianney in the Province of Quebec, woke up early this morning (Wednesday, May 5) to disaster.
AV Village of St Jean Vianney with crater
AV Closer views of same showing edge of crater & houses
AV Disaster area
AV Row of houses near crater area
AV Disaster area PAN TO edge of crater
Initials SGM/0105 SGM/0044
orig or 5334/72
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The village of St Jean Vianney in the Province of Quebec, woke up early this morning (Wednesday, May 5) to disaster. A cave-in which opened up a pit about 210 yards (metres) wide by 60 yards (metres) deep, swallowed up about 30 houses - the majority of them homes with people asleep inside, and at first court at least 30 were reported dead.
Guided by the screams from the injured and the dying, rescuers made their way through mud and rain to reach those trapped in their fallen homes.
St Jean Vianney is a community of 2,000 people, situated 115 miles (185 kilometres) North of Quebec City, and is in the centre of an area that has already suffered several landslides in the last five months. Two major landslides in the Community of Asbestos in December and January caused considerable material damaged but no deaths; and, in St Jean Vianney itself, several minor slides were recorded ten days ago in exactly the same spot where today's tragedy struck.
The village is on the banks of the Saguenay River, which has been heavily swollen by spring waters and by a persistent rainfall which was still falling at the time of the cave-in. Preliminary reports are said to indicate that a subterranean river has been forming for the last few years.
This film was shot by CFTO - a Canadian Television (CTV) station in Montreal. It was transmitted by satellite and telerecorded by VISNEWS in London.