Three children are dead following a incident involving a tractor. Image: Canadian Press

Canada Day tractor incident kills three children, injures seven in Quebec

The tractor driver has been arrested following the accident

A rural Quebec community is in mourning after three young children died on Canada Day after being ejected from the front loader of a tractor.

Seven other people were injured in the incident, police said, which occurred on a country road in the small town of Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge, about 55 kilometres southeast of Montreal.

The 30-year-old driver of the tractor has been arrested and is expected to appear in court later Thursday. Police said alcohol could have been a factor.

Police said shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday, a farm tractor was carrying 10 people inside its front loader, along with pieces of wood. Anik Lamirande, a provincial police spokeswoman, said for unknown reasons, all the occupants were suddenly thrown from the loader.

Three children aged five and under were killed. The injured include three children whose lives are not believed to be in danger, and four adults, two of whom are in critical condition. Lamirande could not say if all 10 people were related.

On Thursday morning, skid marks and faded bloodstains were visible on the pavement of Rang Sainte-Anne, the quiet rural road where the incident happened. A Quebec provincial police car was stationed in front of a grey house with a red tin roof.

Several pieces of heavy farm machinery could be seen parked next to the fields adjacent to the house. A hockey net and a children’s play set sat in the backyard.

Luc Perreault, who lives nearby, said he heard police sirens racing through the village just after 7 p.m., and rushed to the end of the road to see what was happening.

“I heard a police car coming into the village full speed with sirens on, and then an ambulance and another police and another police,” he said in an interview. He said he saw a parade of ambulances arrive at the scene.

While he said he didn’t know the family, Perreault said he believed the event was likely a family celebration.

“A Canada Day that just turned terrible,” he said.

It’s rare to see people riding in the loader of a tractor, he said, but he admitted to doing it himself when he was a child.

“We used to do that when we were kids, you know, with grandpa’s old tractor sometimes, get in the bucket. But not to that magnitude, so many people.”

He said the small community of fewer than 700 people is devastated.

“Nobody is smiling this morning,” he said. ”It’s three kids that are gone, two adults seriously hurt.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2020.

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

READ MORE: Canada’s five big banks join anti-hate advertising boycott of Facebook

READ MORE: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Accidents

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Avoid giving dogs ice cubes, says Greater Victoria vet

Tips for keeping dogs cool and safe this summer

Hungry Hearts Gala goes virtual with new mac and cheese competition

Results will be announced on Facebook live stream event

GVPL staggers reopening of three more branches in Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria

More Greater Victoria Library branches to reopen in August

Gaps in the system: Youth cope with homelessness in Greater Victoria

Four-part series will look at youth homelessness in the region

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

Most Read