A seven-year-old girl has died after suffocating in a snowbank, where she got stuck head first, outside her home near Quebec City.

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A seven-year-old girl suffocated in this snowbank outside her home. ((CBC))

The girl, whose name has not been released, got wedged in a hole in a snowbank in Lévis on Mondaywhile trying to reach a fort built earlier in the winter, police said.

Investigators believe the child became trapped in the snow pile while looking for a tunnel she had dug earlier in December.

"The size of the hole was so small it was kind of restricted, so small that even with the size of her shoulders as she dug down, with the head in the front, she got stuck in the hole" said Lévis Sgt. Alain Gelly.

The girl's father went to find her after she had been playing outside for 20 minutes and found her unconscious, with her feet sticking out of the snowbank, hanging upside down with her face in the hole.

"It seems that as she digs in, through the small hole, she got stuck, and as she got stuck, she tried to move back to try to escape from that hole, but she was not strong enough," Gelly said.

She had no vital signs when her father found her, but he managed to pull her free and start cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

An ambulance crew tried to revive her en route to a Lévis hospital where she was declared dead.

No one could predict such a thing could happen, and this was the first such case he had seen in 34 years of service, Gelly said.

The only thing parents can do, he suggested, is to keep children within sight when they're playing outside.

"The lesson of this is that life is short, and we have to be careful," he said. "Look ahead at what's going on. You never know."

With files from the Canadian Press