Published on Friday, January 24, 2020

Tourists missing in Canada after snowmobiles crash through thin ice

Quebec provincial authorities have promised to tighten up safety measures for snowmobile tours as police continue a search for five missing French tourists.

Five out of eight tourists remain missing presumed dead after falling through the ice on Saint-Jean Lake.

Police have found six snowmobiles at the bottom of the lake.

Three of the tourists survived but the Canadian tour guide died in hospital after being pulled out of the water.

It is still unclear why the group went 'off piste' after dark to an area where the ice in thinner.

"Lessons will be learned and actions will be taken to prevent such tragedies in the future," said Quebec tourism minister Caroline Proulx.

Search teams are hoping they have somehow made it to land but after a second day of searching, hopes of finding them alive is fast receding.

"There are still certain points to check but the more time passes, the less likely this becomes," said police spokesman Hugues Beaulieu.

Dozens of police officers, divers, a sonar-equipped submarine and helicopters have been helping in the search.

The Quebec provincial government said it will make training mandatory for tour guides and tourists.

Quebec has thousands of kilometers of marked snowmobile trails although about 20 people die each year in snowmobiling accidents.

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