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9 dead, 25 hurt in Quebec avalanche

At least nine people died, including five children under the age of 8, and 25 were injured in a New Year's Day avalanche that buried a community center in a remote northern Quebec village.

Police said the avalanche struck shortly past midnight as up to 500 New Year's revelers were packed into the building in the Inuit community of Kangiqsualujjuaq (pronounced Kan-JIK-soo-an-oo-joo-ak), 950 miles north of Montreal on Ungava Bay, off the Labrador Sea.

Six people died shortly after the avalanche and three other victims _ a mother and her young daughter and son _ were discovered several hours later buried under snow, said Luc Harvey, chief of the Kativik regional police force in Kuujjuaq, 190 miles west of the village.

Before the last victim's body was found, local residents dug frantically through snow that slid down the 250-foot hill and punched through the wall of the center, Harvey said. They faced a fierce snowstorm, 60 mph wind and minus 4 degree temperatures looking for those buried under snow up to 10 feet deep.

Police said they had accounted for everyone and were calling off the search.

Ten of the injured were in serious condition, Quebec police officer Ronald McInnis said.

Another avalanche was possible and the center's roof could cave in, McInnis said.

The 600-member Inuit community has only one doctor and two aboriginal police officers. Inuit are also known as Eskimos.

_ Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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