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Andyman

Lac St Jean Nightmare!

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Drama in Lac-Saint-Jean: the guide would have tried to save the front of the peloton
The three survivors said that the guide asked them to turn back before leaving to catch up with the rest of the group
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Drama in Lac-Saint-Jean: the guide would have tried to save the front of the peloton
PHOTO AGENCE QMI, ROGER GAGNON
Logo of journalist Pierre Paul Biron from the Journal de Quebec, Friday March 29, 2019. STEVENS LEBLANC / JOURNAL DE QUEBEC / AGENCE QMI)    
PIERRE-PAUL BIRON 
Thursday, January 23, 2020 4:10 p.m.
UPDATE Thursday, January 23, 2020 4:10 p.m.
SAINT-HENRI-DE-TAILLON | The expedition guide who turned to drama Tuesday evening would have voluntarily returned to the open waters of Lac Saint-Jean in an attempt to catch up with the front of the peloton, which was heading straight for death. He will finally have left his skin too.  

• Also read: [VIDEO] The son of a missing snowmobiler climbs the podium at the Biathlon World Cup 


• Also read: Drama in Lac-Saint-Jean: the identity of the five missing tourists revealed 


• Also read: [IN PICTURES] Resumption of research on Lac Saint-Jean to find missing snowmobilers 

According to Charles Tremblay, owner of the convenience store where the three survivors took refuge, guide Benoit Lesperance returned to the center of Lac Saint-Jean after making sure that the latter were safe and sound.  

"From what they told us, the guide came back to them after realizing that they were no longer following, that they had fallen into the water," says Mr. Tremblay. “He told them to come back here, to the convenience store, that they were going to catch up with the others and join them. He never came back. ” 

This testimony therefore suggests that the guide, probably understanding the danger of letting the five snowmobilers out in front, chose to risk his life to join them.  

"If he hadn't returned, he would have made it with the other three. But a guide will not let his world go. He surely put the gas on the bottom of the water to try to pass and join them, "believes Charles Tremblay.  

A local resident, Dany Gaudreault, also told the Journal on Wednesday that the police had seen "traces of snowmobiles turning around the islands and returning to the water", which could correspond to the whereabouts of the guide for find his group. 

Towards death 

This missing portion of the story would also explain why the three surviving snowmobilers did not panic when they arrived at the convenience store. For them, the rest of the group had only continued on their way. A path that will probably have led them to death. 


"When it's dark like that, you don't know what you're falling into." You don't know if it's a big hole or not, ”says the owner. 

According to his reading of the thread of events, the three French would never have really understood what had happened to their comrades. 

"They seemed to believe that they had taken the wrong path. They thought that the others had the right path to cross and that they had just continued. That's why they just said that they had lost their group and that they were trying to call them, ”says Tremblay, still shocked by the extent of the drama. 

"It's absolutely terrible."

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6 minutes ago, Andyman said:

This testimony therefore suggests that the guide, probably understanding the danger of letting the five snowmobilers out in front, chose to risk his life to join them.  

Sounds like my theory is not far off.

Edited by iceman

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Don, I was thinking the same as you. The SMDS area has gotten a bad rap over the years for traffic but truth be told the root of the traffic comes in large part from these tour groups, and I have seen some with 20+ sometimes all over the trail with large gaps in between riders with obviously extremely large differences in skill level. It seems over time that those that were returning customers grew tired of the same old so the tours started turning into multiple night bag tours and while the groups got somewhat smaller the other thing that has happened is with more experience these groups have become somewhat more reckless. One thing I have noticed with these groups........ and I am not sure how they are instructed by the guide but they can be just plain rude. I sometimes think the guides are to blame, I have seen them pulled off to the side and as we are passing them they pull out in the middle of our group. Also sometimes when you come up behind them and finally find a safe place to pass they appear clueless and start drifting over in front of you. Sad sad thing what happened there for all involved but I do think many are rushing to judge the guide 

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They have now located four more submerged sleds, bringing total to 6 sleds found on bottom, one sled still not found and 5 persons still unaccounted for. 

Just to clarify.....

7 sleds in water

1 sled was the Guide’s obviously 

5 other sleds (the 5 missing)

1 sled the tourist who was pulled out by his friends. (Survived)

Edited by iceman

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10 hours ago, viper2 said:

Don, I was thinking the same as you. The SMDS area has gotten a bad rap over the years for traffic but truth be told the root of the traffic comes in large part from these tour groups, and I have seen some with 20+ sometimes all over the trail with large gaps in between riders with obviously extremely large differences in skill level. It seems over time that those that were returning customers grew tired of the same old so the tours started turning into multiple night bag tours and while the groups got somewhat smaller the other thing that has happened is with more experience these groups have become somewhat more reckless. One thing I have noticed with these groups........ and I am not sure how they are instructed by the guide but they can be just plain rude. I sometimes think the guides are to blame, I have seen them pulled off to the side and as we are passing them they pull out in the middle of our group. Also sometimes when you come up behind them and finally find a safe place to pass they appear clueless and start drifting over in front of you. Sad sad thing what happened there for all involved but I do think many are rushing to judge the guide 

I was at the rental shop one day a couple of years ago, a friend needed new plugs in a 17 renegade. I got a first hand view of a large group going out on rentals. The guy instructing those sledder was showing them how to start the sled, which was the gas and brake, etc. I was in shock that these people new almost nothing and were going out on the trail with all the traffic. Like ice likes to say, thanks for the heads up, I will make sure to be no where near this action. Not saying this was the case in LSJ, but I know first hand this happens, I have seen it. Some people drive onto the trail, it is their first time ever operating a sled, very scary.

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5 hours ago, quebec bob said:

I was at the rental shop one day a couple of years ago, a friend needed new plugs in a 17 renegade. I got a first hand view of a large group going out on rentals. The guy instructing those sledder was showing them how to start the sled, which was the gas and brake, etc. I was in shock that these people new almost nothing and were going out on the trail with all the traffic. Like ice likes to say, thanks for the heads up, I will make sure to be no where near this action. Not saying this was the case in LSJ, but I know first hand this happens, I have seen it. Some people drive onto the trail, it is their first time ever operating a sled, very scary.

Yes Bob for sure. Actually seems in this case like the group has some previous experience which may have been their undoing

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21 minutes ago, viper2 said:

Yes Bob for sure. Actually seems in this case like the group has some previous experience which may have been their undoing

Bingo. Guide let them run. He stayed with slower pack. They just did not know the danger in front of them and when guide realized what was happening was already too late.

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It is still a tragedy regardless of the chain of events that triggered this.  Hopefully something good will emerge from this disaster.

You can pass laws but in my opinion, education is the key.  Riders have to be informed and understand the risks that come along with this or any sport.  Lets all be as safe as we can be.

Jack & Sandi

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48 minutes ago, revct1 said:

It is still a tragedy regardless of the chain of events that triggered this.  Hopefully something good will emerge from this disaster.

You can pass laws but in my opinion, education is the key.  Riders have to be informed and understand the risks that come along with this or any sport.  Lets all be as safe as we can be.

Jack & Sandi

Jack absolutely, such a tragedy. Staked or not I never fully trust the ice and we always try to keep a pretty good space between riders and try to stay off at night

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Is commercializing the snowmobile sport wrecking it for the father and son, best friends etc riding the great trails of Quebec.  If government wants to intervene they should limit the party size.  Like someone said they put people on sleds and tell them about the throttle and brake.  Amazing. 

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Just a question.  Is this the only open water area on the lake.  I know there is some near St Felish, spelled wrong, on the north end. Is the center of the lake frozen.  I see there must be lots of ice where the helicopter crashed.  Just wondering. 

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12 hours ago, iceman said:

Remains of SQ helicopter that crashed during search for missing snowmobilers

E69A7E9F-A90B-4618-9050-E6B1ECB9A011.jpeg.6d520b77cbc0b206d81837d2151ed0b8.jpeg3D64C763-190E-4F2B-9C7A-1EBCD97D6F9E.jpeg.d9eb53545e283597ccb48ac6acef49f4.jpegADB11C29-D670-4E50-80DE-F7151B3AAB60.jpeg.0368b94b8b63cf7717f8740b65a237d1.jpeg289504B3-C4DE-49EF-84E7-F648B2572096.jpeg.f3f695d0c5afb2247cef61fd4e29d59a.jpeg

Like watching a movie, hard to believe this all really happened, being an emergency responder in Quebec is a very serious , and dangerous job.

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A curiousity question for our Quebec residents:
When a path across water is staked, does that mean it is safe and/or checked periodically for safe passage?

I always respect the saying “no ice is ever ‘safe’ ice”

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I am not a resident but have been in organized snowmobiling. Any trail lined with the red posts is a FCMQ approved trail. That means the ice thickness has been measured and it thick enough to safely hold snowmobiles. It would also mean it is likely checked on a regular basis. 

This would be my guess from experience.

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Speaking from experience  when we 1st  came to Quebec 16 years  ago  I think we were very lucky our  guide who became a personal friend gave us a 30 odd page photo copy of do's n don'ts the night before we went on a 3 night tour de lac and then  we had a day riding around st felicien after induction on the sleds n doing loops around the car park of the hotel du jardin we still had a lot to learn n did things I now know are a no no on the trails. ( which I now apologise for on a frequent basis  lol ) i feel as a tour group of 16 we were very  very  lucky.  We loved it so much  we came back on the tour the following year  with  a girl  I met who is now  my wife...   I shall be for  every great full  to Jean-claude  leduc who has sadly passed away several years ago. 

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6 hours ago, vt_bluyamaha54 said:

A curiousity question for our Quebec residents:
When a path across water is staked, does that mean it is safe and/or checked periodically for safe passage?

I always respect the saying “no ice is ever ‘safe’ ice”

Pretty much standardized I imagine, but the clubs around here in my area of Que. stake ice crossings that are part of their trail system once the thickness is safe. They regularly check thickness and report dangers, slush, water or changes that could effect safety and or close water course sections as need. The best way to keep up to date with any trail related info these days is to look up the clubs where you generally ride on Face Book and like their page, you will then get news as they post. Again only from my experiences with  these particular clubs, announcements and news gets posted far quicker on their face Book pages than it does on their web sites. 

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2 more bodies recovered today these along with the one found friday brings total to 3 recovered. Still missing 2 others. 

Seventh sled also found. All sleds were found in the same area.

the first body found was 2km from sleds.

the two today were 3km from sleds.

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1 hour ago, iceman said:

2 more bodies recovered today these along with the one found friday brings total to 3 recovered. Still missing 2 others. 

Seventh sled also found. All sleds were found in the same area.

the first body found was 2km from sleds.

the two today were 3km from sleds.

i cant imagine what these poor peoples families are going through not to mention the rescuers/divers. That's a serious long ways away.

Thanks ice for keeping us updated. RIP brothers !!

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Thanks for the updates Don.  QR is our news source down here in the States.  It is much appreciated.  We think of the families and offer our prayers.

Jack & Sandi

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49 minutes ago, RoweBoat said:

Agreed rect1, I can’t image trying to locate bodies 2-3 Kim’s from the original entry point.

Talk about finding a needle in the hay stack!!!

The whole of Lac St Jean is funneling into the Saguenay River right there, can not imagine the underwater current the divers have to battle. I hope they find the last two sledders soon.

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