An eight-year-old girl has died after being struck by a snowplow in Quebec City.
Police say it happened just before noon in the parking lot of an apartment building complex on Louis XIV Boulevard in the city’s Beauport neighbourhood, where the girl lived.
The girl was transported to hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.
The 36-year-old driver of the snowplow is being treated for shock and was also taken to hospital.
Simon Jourdain, the owner of the snow removal company ESSA, was in tears when he learned what happened.
“This is a nightmare,” he said.
Quebec City police spokesperson Cyndi Paré said investigators do not know if the girl was walking alone when she was struck. Two snowplows were in the area at the time.
Police could not provide any more details and say it is not yet clear if criminal charges will be laid.
An investigation is underway.
In Quebec’s National Capital region there have been 47 accidents involving a snow plow since 2010, according to the province’s automobile insurance board.
The death of the girl is the first fatal accident involving a snowplow since 2010.
Psychological support at school
Fidele Dodji told CBC News that her children walked to school most days with the girl who was killed. She said she’s not sure how she will explain to her own girls what happened.
“It’s awful,” she said.
The girl, whose name has not been released, was a student at nearby Bourg-Royal school in the borough of Charlesbourg.
The school board is providing support to students and teachers.
A team of psychologists and other professionals was sent to each class on Friday afternoon to talk to students about what happened.
They will tour classrooms again on Monday and psychological support will be available next week for any student or staff member who needs it, said school principal Patricia Boulé in a letter to parents.
“We understand that this death, which occurred in tragic circumstances, can shock children,” said Boulé.