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RCMP say 15 dead after bus carrying seniors collides with semi truck in Manitoba

Family support centre has been set up at a Lutheran Church in Dauphin for relatives.
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A crash, as shown in this handout image provided by Nirmesh Vadera, has closed a section of the Trans-Canada Highway near Carberry, Manitoba on Thursday June 15, 2023. RCMP have posted on social media that they are on the scene of a very serious collision near the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 5. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Nirmesh Vadera

RCMP say 15 people are dead and 10 are in hospital after a bus carrying people from Dauphin, Man., many of them seniors, collided with a semi truck.

Assistant Commissioner Rob Hill, the commanding officer of Manitoba’s RCMP, said Thursday the crash happened at the intersection of highways 1 and 5 near Carberry, about two hours south of Dauphin.

“Sadly, this is a day in Manitoba and across Canada that will be remembered as one of tragedy and incredible sadness,” he told a news conference.

He said every available resource has been sent to the scene.

A family support centre has been set up in the basement of the Lutheran Church in Dauphin for relatives.

Police said the drivers of the truck and the bus survived.

Hill said his thoughts go out to families anxiously waiting for news of their loved ones.

“To all those waiting, I can’t imagine how difficult it is not knowing if the person you love the most will be making it home tonight.”

Kim Armstrong, the administrator of the Dauphin senior centre, said the bus left from there Thursday morning.

She said the senior community is extremely tight knit in the city of around 8,600 people and the centre is sometimes like a second home.

“It’s huge to lose so many individuals of our community and of course it is shocking. We just pray for those that are surviving,” she said.

Armstrong said seniors and community members often go on trips on buses to nearby events or casinos. The tragic crash still feels unimaginable, she said.

“It’s hard to put it into words,” she said.

A damaged semi truck could be seen on the side of the road and the burnt-out bus in a ditch along Highway 1, which is the Trans-Canada.

The pavement was littered with debris — broken glass, a large bumper and what looked like a walker. Seven blue and yellow tarps were stretched out.

Photos supplied to The Canadian Press by a witness from the scene earlier Thursday showed the bus smouldering in a ditch alongside the road.

Nirmesh Vadera, who was working at a business on the side of the highway when the crash happened, said he went outside and saw a transport truck with a smashed engine on the highway.

A multi-passenger vehicle was on fire in the grass on the side of the road. First responders were trying to get people out of the burning vehicle, he said.

“It was burning and all the (firefighters) and medical help and everybody was trying to get them away from the fire. They are just trying to give treatment and everything,” he said.

Vadera said the crash looked devastating.

Helicopters with the STARS air ambulance service were sent from Winnipeg and Regina. The crew was made up of doctors, paramedics and nurses.

“We also deployed additional STARS crew to the area on two fixed-wing aircraft, for a total of 14 STARS critical care crew responding in addition to area EMS and other first responders,” spokesman Blake Robert said in an email.

Vadera saw one of the helicopters land on the highway and multiple fire trucks, ambulances and police cars arrive.

Greg Shaw, with Neepawa District Handi Transit, said photos of the scene look just like the 14-passenger buses that his team uses. He said everyone who drives the buses throughout communities in the area have been shaken.

“We’re all just sick,” Shaw said.

“It’s just very emotional … We’ve all made that trip. We’ve all crossed that highway.”

Nirmesh Vadera, who was working at a business on the side of the highway when the crash happened, said he went outside and saw a transport truck with a smashed engine on the highway.

The bus was on fire in the grass on the side of the road. First responders were trying to get people out of the burning vehicle, he said.

“It was burning and all the (firefighters) and medical help and everybody was trying to get them away from the fire. They are just trying to give treatment and everything,” he said.

“My heart breaks hearing the news of the tragic accident near Carberry,” Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson posted on social media. “My most sincere condolences go out to all those involved.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter that the news was “incredibly tragic.”

“I’m sending my deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones today, and I’m keeping the injured in my thoughts,” he said. “I cannot imagine the pain those affected are feeling — but Canadians are here for you.”

Local MP Larry Maguire wrote on Twitter that he was “beyond saddened.”

“My thoughts go out to those mourning the loss of their loved ones and to the emergency responders on the scene,” he wrote.

“As we always do, let’s pull together in love and support for everyone impacted.”

Carberry is 170 kilometres west of Winnipeg.





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