According to reports, the couple, both in their 80s, drove their car into the Canal de l’Ourcq at Pavillons-sous-Bois just a few kilometers from their home in the Raincy suburb of Paris, at around 9.30am on Monday morning.
The 84-year-old woman was killed, but her 80-year-old husband survived after being pulled out of the canal alive.
“The woman is dead but the man is safe and sound,” a police source told French media.
A letter explaining their intention to commit suicide was later found by the couple’s cleaning lady.
News of the tragic story comes just a week after France was shocked by the suicide of a family of four, including two young children, in a hotel room in Bordeaux.
The parents had apparently been in financial difficulties following a fire at the supermarket run by the father. The couple apparently poisoned their adolescent children before hanging themselves in the hotel room.
In 2010, 3,000 suicides of elderly people were recorded, out of a total of 10,000. The over-65s represent 20% of the population in France, and yet they account for 30% of suicides.
by Naomi Firsht