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Manitoba crash: 15 dead, 10 more in hospital, RCMP say

Manitoba crash: 15 dead, 10 more in hospital, RCMP say
Manitoba crash: 15 dead, 10 more in hospital, RCMP say

Fifteen people have died and 10 others have been taken to hospital after a bus collided with a truck on the Trans-Canada Highway near Carberry, Man.

The Manitoba RCMP reported at approximately 11:43 a.m. Thursday that officers received a report that a bus carrying about 25 people had collided with a truck at Highway 1 and Highway 5, near the town of Carberry, a community two hours west of Winnipeg.

A map showing the location of Carberry, Man.

Manitoba RCMP Commander Rob Hill said 15 people were killed in the crash Thursday night, while 10 others were taken to hospital with injuries. Hill said the people on the bus were from Dauphin and the surrounding area — most of them seniors.

“This is a day in Manitoba and across Canada that will be remembered as a day of tragedy and incredible sadness,” Hill said.

A spokesperson for Sand Hills Casino in Carberry confirmed the bus was en route to the casino.

Images from the scene show a truck with a crumpled and burned front, and what appears to be the burned fuselage of a bus in the ditch. Emergency services were seen placing blankets on the bodies of victims lying in the road.

‘IT WAS TERRIBLE’: RESIDENTS DESCRIBE SCENE OF CRASH, BURNING CAR

Tracy Leitch was driving along the Trans-Canada Highway around noon on Thursday when she reached the scene of the accident.

“Before we got there we already saw a lot of smoke,” she said.

She said she saw a truck with a crumpled front end that was smoking at the scene, and that the bus was badly damaged.

“There was nothing left of the vehicle,” she said, adding that she had never seen a crash like it before. “I was almost in tears and almost had a panic attack. I felt really sick.”

Nirmesh Vadera, who was working nearby around the time of the crash, said he saw a truck and what looked like a passenger car on fire.

“I can’t describe it because I’ve never seen so many flames and accidents,” he said. “People were trying to save themselves and… medical personnel, firefighters – they were helping them get out. It’s hard to describe, but it was terrible.”

CRASH ECHOES 2018 HUMBOLDT TRAGEDY, RCMP SAYS

Two STARS air ambulances were called to the crash scene — one from Winnipeg and one from Regina, along with other emergency responders who had flown to the area. STARS said a total of 14 of its medical crews were on scene.

Officials said another 12 ambulances were on scene to transport victims to hospital in Winnipeg.

The RCMP reported that immediately after the crash, all available resources were deployed to respond to the multi-casualty crash.

Police have set up a family support center in the basement of the Lutheran Church at 2 Kirby Avenue East in Dauphin, where officers can meet with family members of victims and answer questions.

“I also want to acknowledge that there are many people in Dauphin and surrounding areas who are anxiously awaiting news of a loved one,” Hill said. “To all those waiting, I can’t imagine how hard it is not knowing if the person you love most is coming home tonight.”

Superintendent Rob Lasson, the Manitoba RCMP’s major crime officer, said the crash bears similarities to a 2018 crash in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, that killed 16 people and injured 13.

“We have already reached out to investigators in Saskatchewan who have first-hand experience and were among the lead investigators in the Humboldt crash investigation,” said Lasson, who added that they are assisting with the investigation.

“Even at the outset of an investigation like this, we have to be aware that there may be unlawful conduct and, if so, there may be a criminal element to the investigation.”

William Doherty, the CEO of the haulage company Day & Ross, which was involved in the crash, said they were heartbroken by the tragic news.

“Our thoughts from the entire Day & Ross team are with those who lost loved ones in this terrible incident, and we hope that those injured will recover,” Doherty said in a statement to CTV News.

“We will fully cooperate with the investigation and provide all assistance and support we can.”

CRASH LED TO CODE ORANGE AS MANITOBA HOSPITALS RESPOND

The crash prompted Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre (HSC) to declare a code orange for a mass casualty incident just after noon Thursday. A statement from Shared Health said HSC and hospitals in Brandon, Prairie Mountain Health and the Winnipeg Health Region were prepared to receive patients.

“Paramedics and first responders prepare their entire careers for a day like this, hoping it never comes — today it did,” said Jennifer Cumpsty, executive director of acute health services at HSC. “They all performed their jobs with the utmost skill and professionalism.”

A STARS helicopter lands at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg on June 15, 2023. At least 15 people have been killed in a serious crash on the Trans-Canada Highway near Carberry, Man., according to sources. (Image source: Scott Andersson/CTV News Winnipeg)

Cumpsty confirmed that code orange ended on Thursday evening.

‘OUR HEARTS ARE BROKEN’: MANITOBA PRIME AND PREMIER RESPOND TO FATAL CRASH

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to the crash on Thursday afternoon, calling the situation extremely tragic.

“I send my deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones today, and keep those injured in my thoughts,” he said in a statement on Twitter. “I cannot imagine the pain those affected are feeling — but Canadians are here for you.”

Prime Minister Heather Stefanson released a statement Thursday afternoon praising emergency services and expressing her condolences to those affected by the crash.

“Our hearts are broken and our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of all those affected by the terrible and devastating tragedy near the town of Carberry,” the premier said in a written statement. Stefanson said flags at the Manitoba Legislature will be flown at half-mast out of respect for the victims.

Ray Muirhead, mayor of Carberry, said the council was in shock.

“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragic event,” he said in a written statement.

Muirhead also asked people to stay away so emergency workers could do their work.

According to Manitoba 511, the eastbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway at Highway 5 remain closed, but a detour via service roads is in place.

The westbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway at Highway 5 are open.

Motorists should expect delays.