The bodies of six people were found Thursday afternoon in the St. Lawrence River, announced the Mohawk Police Service of Akwesasne, this reserve which straddles Quebec, Ontario and New York State.
A grisly discovery was made around 5 p.m. Thursday by the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service. The bodies of six people were discovered in a marshy area of the St. Lawrence, on the Quebec side of the community of Akwesasne.
This community is about 130 kilometers from Montreal, south of the river and on the border of Ontario and New York State.
According to information from Chief of Police Shawn Dulude transmitted to the national channel CBC, the body of a child with a Canadian passport is among the victims. The nationalities of the other deceased have not yet been established.
Also according to police chief Dulude, an overturned boat was first spotted by a helicopter, triggering the search operation.
The Marine Unit is continuing to search the area with the help of the Coast Guard and the Hogansburg Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Department, the police department said on its Facebook page.
The police service will also request the assistance of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) and the air support units of the Ontario Provincial Police.
The SQ will come to the assistance of the Akwesasne police force, confirmed Stéphane Tremblay, spokesperson for the SQ at La Presse. The investigation remains under the direction of the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service.
Autopsies and toxicological analyzes will have to be carried out to determine the cause of death, specifies the Mohawk police service on Facebook. Police are also trying to identify the bodies of the victims and their status in Canada.
In early March, an American smuggler received a five-year prison sentence for human trafficking after helping Indian nationals cross from Canada to the United States via the St. in this same sector.
In April 2022, this smuggler’s boat sank while on the St. Lawrence River, a tributary of the river. The nationals had to be rescued by the Mohawk Police Service.
None of the Indian nationals could swim, and the ship was not equipped with life jackets or any other safety equipment.
Last spring, the Legault government announced $6.2 million over five years to the Mohawk Police Service of Akwesasne so that it can patrol Quebec waters permanently on the territory straddling the border between Canada and the United States, a place considered a gateway for arms, drugs and human trafficking in Quebec.