NEWS

Quebec town mourns young woman killed in storm

07/20/2013 03:57 EDT | Updated 09/19/2013 05:12 EDT
Neighbours of the 21-year-old woman, who died at a Boucherville swimming pool during a violent storm, stopped by Saturday to leave flowers and their messages of condolence.

The young woman was a municipal employee and, according to neighbours and a co-worker, a lifeguard at the Paul VI swimming pool in Boucherville.

Const. Jean-Pierre Voutsinos of the Longueuil police said a 911 call was received shortly before 4 p.m. Friday saying a tree branch had fallen on a group of people.

Charles Després’s five-year-old son was among the group, but escaped unscathed.

However, his best friend, a six-year-old boy, was rushed to hospital with serious injuries.

Després said he only learned of the accident at 6 p.m., when he returned home from work. He said his son was very troubled by the experience.

“It’s definitely worrisome. It was sudden and uncontrollable,” he said.

Neighbours express sadness for 21-year-old's death

Catherine Lord, a 10-year-old girl who lives in the area, said she knew the 21-year-old woman who died. She and her mother went to the pool Saturday to pay their respects.

She said she was a lifeguard at the pool, and that the two of them had spoken because Lord is an active swimmer and uses the pool frequently.

Other neighbours came by the pool to express their sadness. Yves O’Connall lives nearby and was in his yard when the storm rolled in suddenly and violently.

He went inside, and “five minutes later, we heard the ambulance sirens,” he said.

"I was very sad. It's a neighbourhood where everyone knows each other," he continued.

The Paul VI pool is scheduled to be closed through until the end of the weekend. Const. Jean-Pierre Voutsinos of the Longueuil police said he didn’t know when the pool would reopen.

He said the people who were hit by the tree branch were inside the fence of the pool at the time of the accident, along the edge of the water.

“Trees are being looked at and branches are being cut,” he said.

The CSST, Quebec’s workplace health and safety board, is also investigating along with the police. A coroner will also investigate the 21-year-old woman’s death.

“Investigators are talking to the CSST and looking at all the hypotheses at this point,” Voutsinos said.

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