‘Gone in an instant:’ Manitoba RCMP release names of 16 seniors killed in bus crash

'Gone in an instant:' Manitoba RCMP release names of 16 seniors killed in bus crash
Flowers left by a person are seen on the side of the road where the Trans-Canada Highway intersects with Highway 5, west of Winnipeg near Carberry, Man., Friday, June 16, 2023. A bus carrying seniors on the way to a casino collided with a semi truck at the intersection on June 15. Sixteen seniors on the bus were killed.

RCMP have released the names of 16 seniors who died after a minibus was struck by a semi-truck west of Winnipeg.

One by one, officers and family members placed large photos of the victims, who ranged in age from 68 to 88, at the front of a news conference Thursday in Dauphin, Man.

The bus had been taking the group from Dauphin and the surrounding area on a trip to a casino on June 15, when it crashed with the truck near the town of Carberry.

“The word tragedy has been used a lot over the last week but never has that word had as much meaning as it does when we look at the photographs that line this room,” said Supt. Jeff Asmundson, commander of the Manitoba RCMP’s west district.

“There’s been a cloud over this community since the collision occurred. We lost 16 people who were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, whose decades of contributions helped make this community what it is.

“They were gone in an instant.”

Police have said dashcam footage shows the bus was crossing the Trans-Canada Highway when it went into the path of the truck.

Fifteen people on the bus died that day and a woman who was injured died in hospital Tuesday.

Health officials said nine others remained in hospital, with four still in critical condition.

Some of the families released brief statements about their loved ones through the RCMP.

“We are heartbroken and numb by this tragedy and the loss of our vibrant mother, Baba and Great Baba,” said the family of Helen Kufley, 88.

“She was and always will be the cornerstone of our family, the one we always went to for advice and wisdom, and we will miss her terribly.”

Former school teacher Nettie Nakonechny, 87, was remembered for being proud of her Ukrainian heritage and a “Baba,” not only to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but to many who knew her.”

“She will be missed by all of us who loved her.”

Community members in Dauphin were to hold a vigil Thursday night to mourn the victims.

Here’s a list of those who died:

Louis Bretecher, 81 — A family statement says Bretecher was a beloved husband, father and “pepere,” or grandfather.

Margaret Furkalo, 82 — A statement says she will be forever in people’s hearts.

Vangie Gilchrist, 83 — Gilchrist’s first name was Evangeline, but she went by Vangie. Messages on her obituary page say she was an amazing woman and “true force,” a grandmother who bowled and volunteered for different causes.

Ann Hill, 81 — A statement from family says she was a mother, grandma, great-grandmother and sister.

Helen Kufley, 88 — A family statement says Kufley was a vibrant mom, baba and great-baba. She was a cornerstone of the family and will be missed terribly.

Arlene Lindquist, 68 — A statement says she was a loving mother, grandmother and friend.

Dianne Medwid, 70 — A person known to Medwid says she worked at a local accounting firm.

Nettie Nakonechny, 87 — A statement says she was a longtime resident of Dauphin, a former school teacher and baba to grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was very proud of her Ukrainian culture and will be missed.

Shirley Novalkowski, 76 — A statement says she was a loving mother, grandmother and sister.

Frank Perzylo, 82 — A message on an obituary page for Perzylo and his wife describes him as being very helpful, particularly when it came to farm work. He also liked to hunt.

Rose Perzylo, 80 — Messages on the same obituary page say the couple was friendly and neighbourly.

Jean Rosenkranz, 82

Donna Showdra, 79 — A statement says she will be deeply missed by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Lillian Stobbe, 73 — A statement says she was a loving mother, nana and friend. Her obituary asks people to make donations in her memory to the Parkland Humane Society, where she worked. Messages on the funeral home website describe her as compassionate, loving and caring.

Patsy Zamrykut, 88 — An obituary says Zamrykut lived in the Horyn district before residing in Dauphin. Messages posted on the funeral home’s website said she was a wise, kind and compassionate woman who spent time laughing with friends over coffee and playing cards.

Claudia Zurba, 87 — A statement says Zurba’s life was a blessing, she was loved beyond words and will be missed beyond measure. She was a mom, nana, great-nana and great-great nana. An obituary says Zurba was from the tiny community of Fork River, north of Dauphin, and people attending her funeral next week are asked to wear bright orange or coral in her honour.

Manitoba RCMP have released the names of 16 seniors who died after their minibus was struck last week by a semi-truck west of Winnipeg. Top row (left to right) Louis Bretecher, Margaret Furkalo, Vangie Gilchrist, Ann Hill and Helen Kufley. Middle row (left to right) Arlene Lindquist, Dianne Medwid, Nettie Nakonechny, Shirley Novalkowski and Frank and Rose Perzylo. Bottom row (left to right) Jean Rosenkranz, Donna Showdra, Lillian Stobbe, Patsy Zamrykut and Claudia Zurba. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-RCMP

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 22, 2022.

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