In a rural area of the Canadian province of Manitoba, a bus bringing seniors to a casino crashed with a semi-trailer truck on Thursday, killing 15 people and wounding another 10, according to authorities.
The bus was transporting 25 persons, according to Rob Hill, Commanding Officer of the Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and officials in Manitoba were sending all of their resources to the location. Hospitals received ten of the patients.
Images of what appeared to be a huge van or bus burning in a ditch next to a delivery vehicle with a shattered engine on a road were shown on TV. Broken glass, a sizable bumper, and what appeared to be a walking aid were among the debris that covered the pavement. Seven tarps in blue and yellow were spread out.
According to RCMP Supt. Rob Lasson, “as of right now, the drivers of the bus and truck are both alive and in the hospital.” If they were one of the 10 people reported as injured, he did not specify. Most of the dead were elderly people.
According to Lasson, there should have been a stop and yield sign as the bus was traveling south. He added that it is crucial to the investigation to determine who had the right of way when the truck impacted the bus as it was crossing the eastbound lanes.
“The public is reeling and asking a lot of questions and people are trying to determine if their loved ones were involved,” Lasson said. “Death on this scale is never normalized for us.”
The accident happened at Carberry, which is located 170 kilometres (105 miles) west of Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba.
“The news from Carberry, Manitoba is incredibly tragic,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted. “I’m sending my deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones today, and I’m keeping the injured in my thoughts.”
In Dauphin, Manitoba, a Lutheran church has established a family support center for kin. According to the police, those on the bus were residents of Dauphin and the surrounding districts.
At the Manitoba legislature, the flags are at half-staff.
The vehicle was supposed to arrive at the Sand Hills Casino in Carberry later in the day, according to a spokeswoman.
The bus departed from the senior center on Thursday morning, according to Kim Armstrong, the director of the Dauphin senior center.
In the 8,600-person city, the elderly community is incredibly close-knit, and the centre occasionally feels like a second home, according to her.
“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.
According to Armstrong, community members and senior citizens frequently take bus trips to local casinos or events.
In a statement, the truck business expressed its sadness at the collision but provided few clues as to what went wrong.
“We will fully cooperate with the investigation and offer any assistance and support that we can,” said William Doherty, CEO of Day & Ross.
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,” he said.
The collision brought back memories of the minor league hockey club Humboldt Broncos bus crash that claimed 16 lives in the neighbouring state of Saskatchewan in 2018. According to Lasson, the crash’s investigators are helping.
“Sadly this is a day in Manitoba and across Canada that will be remembered as one of tragedy and incredible sadness,” said Hill, the RCMP commanding officer.