SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) —Friends and family of a pair of sisters who died of poisoning while traveling in Thailand appeared to still be in profound shock at their funeral in a small town in Quebec Saturday.
Those gathered for the funeral slated for late Saturday afternoon recalled Audrey Belanger, 20 and Noemi Belanger, 26, as a lively pair of sisters well-known and liked in their small town of Pohenegamook, known as for its touristic appeal.
One friend noted that the two had meticulously planned their trip and had done considerable research and planning for their itineraries and had assembled a full list of emergency contacts.
Noemi was widely traveled, having studded in China, France and had also visited Vancouver, Toronto and London among other places. She was hoping to eventually become a dentist.
Audrey had been taking a year off from her studies to travel.
The two were well-known in the town and both worked at their father Carl’s grocery store, which he has operated on the main strip for about 30 years. The town of 3,000 sits near the Maine border and is described as a place where everybody knows each other.
One resident described the two as “angels” and flowers, a camera and a travel guidebook were assembled in an impromptu collection of items on display at the church.
The two appeared to have died of poisoning on Wednesday June 13, probably after having unknowingly ingested a toxic substance, although a full-scale autopsy is still awaited.
Around 130,000 Canadians visit Thailand each year and deaths are rare, apart from the 18 Canadians who died while visiting the country during the tsunami of 2004.
Other Quebecers who died accidentally traveling abroad together in recent years include Andreanne Lacroix-Pelletier and Anne Christelle Dubé-Marquis, both 21, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a defective heater in their room in Bolivia in 2007.
And in November 2011, Joe Valentino, 64, and Nick Carlucci, 63, of Montreal drowned while visiting the beach in Cabarete, Dominican Republic.—www.shafaqna.com/english/