US & Canada

Quebec's receding floodwaters give up man's body

Jean-Jacques Seguin wades though flood water after he evacuated his house in Rigaud, Quebec Image copyright EPA
Image caption Jean-Jacques Seguin is among almost 2,000 people evacuated from their homes in Quebec

Quebec provincial police have recovered the body of man who was swept away by a swollen river in floods that are feared to have claimed three other lives.

Constable Claude Dorion said a search helicopter spotted the remains of Mike Gagnon, 37, late on Monday.

Mr Gagnon and his stepdaughter went missing on Sunday after their car was swept into the Riviere Sainte-Anne in the Gaspé region of the province.

Ground search crews and divers are still looking for the toddler.

The girl's mother was able to escape the vehicle after it was dragged into the river, but she lost sight of her boyfriend and child.

The fatality comes as flood waters in the deluged province slowly begin to recede and officials urge patience.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption A plastic deer is surrounded by floodwaters in Rigaud, Quebec

"We are seeing now the start of the decrease of the water levels, but it will take some time before people return to their homes," Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said on Tuesday morning.

The central Canadian province is experiencing some of its worst flooding in decades.

More than 170 communities have been affected, 2,733 homes have been flooded, and 1,940 people have been evacuated, according to the Quebec government.

On Tuesday, Montreal extended its state of emergency until 14 May as a "preventive measure", said Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.

Almost 400 homes have been inundated and 243 have been evacuated to date in the province's largest city.

"The water levels are stable and we've seen it beginning to recede in some areas. That's a good sign," said Mayor Coderre.

Image copyright VALERIE BLUM
Image caption Michel Guerard (L) gives a lift to Gino De Francesco (R), who left his house surrounded by floodwater to joint his pregnant wife and spend the night at a friend's house
Image copyright EPA
Image caption A family is evacuated on a boat after their house was affected by floodwaters in Pointe-Calumet, Quebec, Canada

A number of schools across the province remained closed for a second day, as did federal government offices in Gatineau, in Canada's national capital region, which has also been inundated.

The Ottawa River reached peak levels on Tuesday and with no significant rainfall expected in the coming weeks, water levels are expected to slowly begin to fall.

Quebec Public Safety Minister Martin Coiteux said it would be "a number of weeks" before water levels return to normal.

About 1,730 soldiers and support personnel are in Quebec assisting with sandbagging and protecting critical infrastructure.

Image copyright Courtesy BC RCMP
Image caption Search and rescue teams are looking for Clayton Cassidy (L) and Roy Sharp (R)

Floods have also affected the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia (BC) and New Brunswick.

Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said flooding is still at "a critical stage".

One hundred people have been evacuated in Ottawa, Ontario; 30 people in BC; and three in New Brunswick.

In BC, the search for two men is ongoing following flooding in parts of the western Canadian province's interior.

Cache Creek Fire Chief Clayton Cassidy, 59, disappeared while checking creek-flow levels in the province's interior late on Friday.

Roy Sharp, 75, is missing following a mudslide near Tappen, BC on Saturday.

Mr Sharp's destroyed home and areas of the mudslide debris field have been searched to no avail. He was last seen inside his home the night of the slide.

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