One was a former school teacher. Another, the cornerstone of her family where loved ones went for advice.
It was parents and grandparents — babas, a pepère and a back-to-back nana — all among the 16 victims of a deadly crash in southwestern Manitoba who were first publicly identified at an RCMP press conference at Credit Union Place in Dauphin , Man., on Thursday.
Alone or in small groups, family members walked slowly around the room, holding a photo of someone they loved who died in the collision before placing it next to the photos of the other victims.
While none of the families spoke, some wrote statements for Mounties to read, sharing with the world a little piece of the person they had lost. Other victims did not have their photos taken by a family member, but by a first responder who paid their respects.
“Hearts are broken, families are grieving,” said Manitoba RCMP West District Commander Supt. Jeff Asmundson, pausing as his voice trembled with emotion.
“A community feels immeasurable loss.”
The crash victims who died were:
‘We will never forget them’
The update comes a week after the crash that shook the small Manitoba community that most of the victims called home.
Fifteen people died at the scene when a bus taking them on a day trip to a casino collided with a semi-trailer truck shortly before noon on June 15 at a highway intersection near Carberry, Man., a community about 100 miles west of Winnipeg.
RCMP said the 25 people on the bus were mostly seniors from Dauphin, a town about 90 miles north of Carberry. Police said the bus was traveling south on Highway 5 and crossing the eastbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway near Carberry when it was struck by the truck.
LOOK | Community “feels immeasurable loss”:
Dauphin mayor David Bosiak said a “genuine sense of gloom and sadness” fell over the town of about 8,000 residents last week as it became clear how many community members were killed in the crash.
“The next few days, weeks and months will be difficult. We have lost so many of our families, our friends and our neighbors,” said Bosiak, whose western Manitoba city was home to most of the people on the bus.
“However, I know we will never forget them, and as we heal, I trust that we will continue to support each other and remember all the good things these wonderful people have brought us.”
Ernie Sirski, city councilor for the rural Dauphin community, said at least four of the dead went to his church, and some of those who survived the crash and are now hospitalized sang with him in the choir.
“It’s been a grieving process that you can never prepare for,” Sirski said after the press conference, which also included Prime Minister Heather Stefanson.
“You can prepare for a hurricane because you can look at the weather forecast. You can sandbag your house if a flood comes. You can’t prepare for this.”
After the crash, 10 survivors were rushed to various hospitals in Manitoba, including a woman who died this week, bringing the death toll from the crash to 16 – the same as the 2018 Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team bus crash in Tisdale, Sask .
Of the nine survivors who remain in care, five are female and four are male. Four of those patients remained in intensive care as of Wednesday, according to Shared Health, which coordinates health care delivery in Manitoba.
According to the police, the driver of the semi-trailer had the right of way at the time of the accident. The driver was released from hospital last week and has helped with the investigation, RCMP said.