“He was simply no longer there”: the parents of the victim of Pont-Rouge tell the drama

Xavier Lebel, 12, is the young boy who died after falling into the Jacques-Cartier River in Pont-Rouge. He was a playful, sporty and resourceful teenager. He had bought chickens and sold eggs to his neighbors to make pocket money.

• Read also: Death of a young boy: fatal fall from a 35-meter climbing wall

• Read also: A 12-year-old dark in the Jacques-Cartier

On Sunday, her mother had the worst nightmare a parent could imagine. She was walking with Xavier and his younger brother on their terrain, a steep place frequented by several climbers.

“Xavier was first. We were standing on the rope and I asked the guys to hold on with both hands. I told the guys to be careful […] that if it was too steep, we would go down,” said the mother.

“We were advancing the three and suddenly I didn’t see Xavier anymore. I didn’t hear a fall or a scream. He was simply no longer there,” she continues.

After a long moment of anguish, the child was located several meters below, clinging to a piece of ice on the Jacques-Cartier River. His head was above water, he had blue lips and did not respond to calls.

Called to the rescue, the father picked up the child, then undressed him to warm him with his body. Rescuers had difficulty reaching the remote location of the accident. The child’s death was confirmed on Monday evening.

“I was lucky to feel him close to me […] to tell him a thousand times that I loved him and that I was proud of him, ”added the experienced father.

The family was on their own land. Unfortunately, the City cannot do much to help him.

“Losing a youngster is terrible. Our thoughts are with them,” said Mario Dupont, Mayor of Pont-Rouge.

Producers are mobilizing

Agricultural producers in the region have mobilized to help Xavier’s family.

“Now, the producers, we have set up a system, a worker of rank that we call, at the heart of the agricultural families, which will give our producers a service of accompaniment, support, for the future” , explains Philippe Alain, president of Cattle Producers of the Capitale-Nationale-Côte-Nord.

Xavier attended the Séminaire Saint-François, he was a member of the football team. On Tuesday, psychological help was offered to his teammates and comrades still in shock. They will remember an energetic and smiling boy, the victim of a tragic accident.

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