Wednesday, July 24, 2024
HomeWorld NewsCanada news'Everything seems so dark and gloomy' in aftermath of fatal bus crash,...

‘Everything seems so dark and gloomy’ in aftermath of fatal bus crash, mayor of grieving Manitoba city says

Pavement scored by tire marks, scorched grass and pieces of debris are the tangible evidence left at the scene of one of Manitoba’s deadliest crashes.

But there is now a weight, a grief in a community struggling to comprehend the deaths of 15 people and injuries to 10 others.

“Literally everybody in town knows somebody that was on that bus,” said David Bosiak, mayor of Dauphin.

“Right now it’s just dealing with the magnitude of this and how everybody is impacted.”

A semi-trailer truck and a bus carrying 25 people, mostly seniors from Dauphin and the surrounding area, collided on the Trans-Canada Highway at Highway 5, just north of Carberry, on Thursday morning.

The bus was headed to a casino near Carberry, on a day trip from Dauphin, a western Manitoba city of around 8,000.

An aerial view looking down at a highway intersection
A Friday aerial shot of the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway, running east-west — left to right in this photo — and Highway 5, which runs north-south. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Emergency crews were called to the scene around 11:45 a.m., where witnesses described smoke and flames coming from the small bus and front end of the semi.

The drivers of the bus and truck are among the survivors.

RCMP Supt. Rob Lasson said it appears the bus was heading south on Highway 5 and crossing the Trans-Canada Highway when it was hit.

He declined to speculate on the cause or circumstances of the crash, but said the investigation continues and criminal charges are a possibility.

The Trans-Canada Highway fully reopened in both directions just before 3 a.m. Friday.

Close up of a man's face. He has white hair.
Dauphin Mayor David Bosiak says his community is strong and will get through the tragedy, but it will be hard. (Chelsea Kemp/CBC)

Bosiak spoke in single words when asked Friday morning how his community was doing: “Shock. Sadness. Concern.” 

Words of support have been flooding in and helping people through some of the raw emotions, he said.

“It’s honestly been overwhelming, both from far and near. We’ve had people reach out from literally coast to coast,” Bosiak said. 

“It’s going to be hard. This is a tough slog, absolutely. But just knowing that others are feeling for us here is really important.”

A family support centre has been set up in the Trinity Lutheran Church in Dauphin.

WATCH | Dauphin’s mayor says everyone in the city knows someone impacted by the crash:

everything seems so dark and gloomy in aftermath of fatal bus crash mayor of grieving manitoba city says 2

Shock and disbelief in Manitoba after deadly crash

11 hours ago

Duration 5:04

Dauphin Mayor David Bosiak says everyone in the small Manitoba city knows someone impacted by the deadly bus crash that left 15 dead.

“We’re doing the best we can at the current time and obviously, as the day goes on, and tomorrow and next week and beyond, people will cope in their own way,” Bosiak said.

“It’s obviously extremely hard to be optimistic at this time, but I would say that our community is tight knit and strong and we’ll get through it. It will be hard and it will hurt a lot of people, but the sun will come up eventually tomorrow. 

“That’s so hard to see right now because everything seems so dark and gloomy.”

Sandra Kaleta was thinking about going on that casino run from Dauphin, which is located about 150 kilometres north of Carberry.

“And then for some reason, I changed my mind. I don’t know why, I just did,” she said.

The parking lot of the seniors centre where everyone boarded the bus for Thursday’s excursion is still full of vehicles belonging to those who went on the trip, her husband, Glenn, said.

The Kaletas are deeply involved in the seniors centre. Glenn is currently the acting president.

WATCH | Sandra and Glenn Kaleta talk about the agonizing wait for information about the crash victims:

everything seems so dark and gloomy in aftermath of fatal bus crash mayor of grieving manitoba city says 3

Agonizing wait for more information on Manitoba crash victims

9 hours ago

Duration 1:58

Sandra Kaleta, a Dauphin, Man., resident who knows many of the people who planned to go on the bus trip that ended in tragedy on Thursday says she, ‘can’t imagine what some of these families are going through’ as they wait for word on their loved ones.

Sandra Kaleta is certain the couple knows every person who was on the bus, some quite well. What they don’t know is who survived and who did not.

“I think that’s the hardest part. I can’t imagine what some of these families are going through, not knowing if their loved ones are part of the 15 who are deceased or if they’re some of the ones that are in the hospital,” she said.

It was the first day trip for seniors since pandemic restrictions eased, Kaleta said.

“They were excited to be going. Very excited.”

Two white and red semi-trailers are parked in the background while yellow police tape crosses the centre of the photo. A pair of folding walkers lie near the edge of a road.
Folding walkers stand and lie at the edge of the highway on Thursday. (Travis Golby/CBC)

The Kaletas also know the driver, whom Glenn described as “a very nice fellow.”

“It’s just a tragedy,” he said. “I just want our community to heal now.”

“And it’s going to take years,” Sandra added.

It’s been just over two months since another highway crash took the lives of four Dauphin teens and seriously injured a fifth. The Kaletas knew those people, too.

The teens’ car went through a stop sign on March 29 and crashed into a semi at the junction of Highway 5 and Provincial Road 274, near the community of Gilbert Plains, just 30 kilometres west of Dauphin.

“There’s been so much tragedy in the last little while in this community. So now this,” Sandra said.

Cars in a parking lot
Cars remain parked in the lot of the Dauphin seniors centre on Friday morning. (Chelsea Kemp/CBC)

Thursday’s crash has raised comparisons to the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy in 2018, when 16 people were killed and 13 injured in a crash with a semi-trailer on a rural Saskatchewan highway.

Manitoba RCMP have said they are turning to their Saskatchewan counterparts for direction in looking into the Manitoba crash. At the same time, Bosiak has turned to Humboldt for help in setting up supports for his community.

He’s had preliminary discussions with some people from the Saskatchewan town about how they dealt with things in the immediate aftermath.

“We’re just trying to figure out, are people going to want to meet and gather somewhere? Will there be a need for that? Will people want to do that on their own or in a group?” he said.

“So those are the things we’re being absolutely as sensitive as we can be about. We’re just trying not to do anything wrong, without knowing what to do.”

A social media hashtag has emerged in the wake of Thursday’s crash, as happened after the Humboldt crash. #Dauphinstrong is trending and being tagged in sympathy messages from politicians, police forces, businesses and organizations like the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

Green trees and flagpoles, with the flags at half-mast.
Flags fly at half-mast outside of Dauphin’s city hall on Friday. (Chelsea Kemp/CBC)

Dauphin’s city hall is next door to the seniors’ centre and Bosiak said city administration will touch base with them to see what they are planning and how they can work together.

“It’s just a matter of connecting, communicating, letting people have some time to just grieve about it, and we’ll see,” he said.

Kim Armstrong, administrator for the seniors centre, said people on Friday have been drawn to the facility because it is a hub for the community.

Many are looking for support.

“As with any grief, you need to listen, and so that will be our first job. Then we will read our people and just try to provide them with the services, the commitment, that they need,” she said.

There is a common sentiment of shock, dismay “and just a sense of not knowing what to do, where to go, because there’s so much unknown still,” Armstrong said.

A sign says Dauphin. Beside it is an electronic signboard that says #Dauphinstrong
The hashtag #dauphinstrong is appearing on social media and has been posted on the signboard in front of Dauphin’s city hall. (Josh Crabb/CBC)

Karin Overgaard lives in Dauphin, close to Trinity Lutheran Church, and saw “a lot of mourning families” going into the support centre, including people bringing in spouses of some of the people who died.

“It was a very sad event. Just so much grief,” she said. “The whole community’s in shock right now.”

Bosiak believes people in his community, who are in that dark and gloomy place, need to know they are on the minds of people. It’s the one thing that can help right now.

“If you know someone from Dauphin, if you used to live here, or if you know someone who lives here now, just reach out — whether that’s a phone call or a message or an email, whatever,” he said.

“Just letting us know that you’re thinking about us is extremely important right now, and we’d appreciate that tremendously.”

A pot of flowers is in the close-up foreground with a stop sign in the background and a semi-trailer passing by on the highway.
A pot of flowers stands on Friday near the intersection where Thursday’s crash occurred. (Gilbert Rowan/Radio-Canada)

More Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!

5 Days Trending

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.