St. Jean Vianney, QB Cave In Disaster, May 1971

St. Jean Vianney QUE landslide 5-4-1971.jpg St. Jean Vianney QUE landslide 5-4-1971 2.jpg



Chicoutimi, Que. (CP) -- Rescue workers pushed through piles of mud they described as "cold lava"
today in a desperate search for trapped survivors of a massive earth cave-in at nearby St. Jean Vianney Tuesday night.
Civil defence officials said at least 20 persons were believed to have died in the earth slide that swept 35 homes, several cars and a bus into a pit one-quarter mile long, 700 feet wide and more than 100 feet deep.
About 70 persons, many screaming and moaning, were rescued overnight from the crater of mud and slime.
Heavy rain fell today in the area as the broken remains of a score of bodies tumbled through a gorge into the Riviere des Vases, a small tributary of the Saguenay River.
Neighbors and relatives of missing persons waited through the night at the edge of the gorge.
Several homes were evacuated and police closed off roads to curious motorists who could see debris of homes floating at dawn in the Saguenay.
ROGER LANDRY searched the area in vain for his wife and five children, when went to stay with relatives in Kenogami.
"It was dreadful, indescribable," he told reporters. He was in the basement of his home when the slide started shortly after 11 p.m.
He ran up to the ground floor. "I called my family until I thought my lungs would burst, but there was no answer."
JEAN BOUCHER was driving along when suddenly the road gave way in front of him. He managed to crawl up the slippery side of the crater but told police he believed his sister-in-law was still in the pit.
A Canadian Forces helicopter pilot, sent in to undertake aerial rescue operations, described the scene as "sheer desolation."

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