Worker found dead in Quebec scaffolding collapse; union says two have died

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QUEBEC CITY — Domtar, the owner of a paper mill where a major industrial accident took place Tuesday, confirmed Wednesday evening that one of two workers who were still missing has been found dead. Yan Baillargeon was the man whose body was recovered amid the rubble of collapsed scaffolding that reached the entire height of…

Worker found dead in Quebec scaffolding collapse; union says two have died
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QUEBEC CITY —
Domtar, the owner of a paper mill where a major industrial accident took place Tuesday, confirmed Wednesday evening that one of two workers who were still missing has been found dead.

Yan Baillargeon was the man whose body was recovered amid the rubble of collapsed scaffolding that reached the entire height of the company’s plant in Windsor, in the Eastern Townships.

“All our thoughts and sympathies are with the family members of Mr. Yan Baillargeon,” said a statement from the company.

“Rescue proceedings are still underway for the second worker.”

Messages of condolence and remembrance for Baillargeon had already been circulating for a few hours on social networks. Several media outlets reported that he was 39 and a father.

“Thank you to everyone who sent words of encouragement, positive vibes and prayers. After 40 hours of rescue, they finally found my brother, but he had already left for a better world, in heaven with our father,” wrote the victim’s sister, Kim Baillargeon, on Facebook.

“See you on the other side, big brother. I love you endlessly.”

Baillargeon and another worker have been missing since scaffolding, several storeys high, collapsed early Tuesday at the Domtar paper mill in the town of Windsor, injuring 10 others as well.

The CSN union also wrote messages online, saying that both workers have died, even if the second man hasn’t yet been identified.

“The CSN deplores that two of the workers involved in the collapse at the Domtar plant were reportedly found dead at the end of that day,” the union wrote on Wednesday night.

“One death at work is always one death too many. All our sympathies to the families and relatives of the two victims.”

More than 24 hours after the collapse of the scaffolding, rescue teams continued to search to find the two workers trapped in the debris.

Earlier Wednesday, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), which is supporting the rescue operation, said that rescuers were still unable to communicate with the two missing men, but that the rescue operation was continuing. 

The accident occurred shortly after 1:30 a.m. at the factory in Windsor, about 150 kilometres east of Montreal.

On Tuesday afternoon, Domtar plant manager Sylvain Bricault said the rescue operation was complicated by the amount of debris from the scaffolding, which was as high as the mill itself.

The workers weren’t Domtar employees but were working for a subcontractor doing substantial work at the mill.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Oct. 27, 2021.

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