May 9, 2017 / 3:19 PM / 2 years ago

Body pulled from river as Quebec battles floods; toddler still missing

James Taylor paddles Heine Wentzel, a visitor from South Africa, out of the flooded neighbourhood he was visiting in Deux-Montagnes, Quebec, Canada May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

(Reuters) - Quebec police continued the search on Tuesday for a toddler swept away in a swollen Quebec river and said her stepfather’s body had been found, the first fatality in floods that have inundated the Canadian province.

Almost 2,000 people have fled their homes in recent days amid floods caused by heavy rains in the province, according to government emergency information bureau Urgence Quebec. The city of Montreal extended its state of emergency on Tuesday and 171 municipalities were fighting flooding.

The federal government deployed about 1,650 troops to the area to assist, along with about 250,000 sandbags to hold back the rising waters.

The man, his wife and a 2-year-old girl were swept away after their car swerved into the Sainte-Anne River, a tributary of the Saint Lawrence River in the province’s eastern Gaspé region, on Sunday evening. The woman survived by clinging to a branch.

Police pulled the man’s body out of the water late on Monday. The search involves police, firefighters and divers, who have been unable to enter the choppy waters.

Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Dan Grebler

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