May 27th, 2020

Body found in Lac-St-Jean region could be one of two missing French snowmobilers

By The Canadian Press on May 23, 2020.

MONTREAL – A body found along the shoreline of Lac-St-Jean on Friday evening might be one of two remaining French snowmobilers listed as missing after their trip turned deadly as January.

Quebec provincial police say a body was found along the shoreline by a passerby in Alma, in the province’s Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region north of Quebec City.

Two snowmobilers remained unaccounted for after the Jan. 21 incident involving a group of eight tourists from France and their Montreal-based guide.

The group left the safety of the marked trail through the woods and ventured towards the icy expanse of Lac-Saint-Jean, where the ice gave way somewhere between St-Henri-de-Taillon and Alma.

Police recovered snowmobiles and the bodies of three of the French tourists and their Montreal-based guide while three others escaped without injury.

Sgt. Claude Denis of the Quebec provincial police says a formal identification is pending.

“According to initial information, it could be one of the snowmobilers who sank at the mouth of Lac-Saint-Jean last January,” he said Saturday.

After 16 consecutive days of searching, police suspended the search for the two remaining missing snowmobilers on Feb. 6.

The Quebec coroner’s office has identified the victims as Julien Benoit, 34, Yan Thierry, 24, Gilles Claude, 58 – all of France – and their guide, 42-year-old Benoit L’Esperance of Montreal.

Two other men who remain unaccounted for are Jean-Rene Dumoulin, 24, and Arnaud Antoine, 25.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 23, 2020.

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