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15 killed in 'mass casualty collision' on highway in Canada: Police

The crashed occurred Thursday in Manitoba.

June 16, 2023, 5:57 PM

Fifteen people are presumed dead and 10 were injured in a "mass casualty collision" that occurred Thursday on a highway in Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

The crash happened on the Trans-Canada Highway between a semi-trailer truck and a bus near the town of Carberry in southwestern Manitoba, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

PHOTO: Smoke comes out of a car following a deadly accident near Carberry, west of Winnipeg, Canada, June 15, 2023.
Smoke comes out of a car following a deadly accident near Carberry, west of Winnipeg, Canada, June 15, 2023.
Nirmesh Vadera/AFP via Getty Images

The collision occurred around 11:40 a.m. local time. The semi-trailer was traveling eastbound on Highway 1 when it struck the bus, which was traveling southbound on Highway 5, as the bus crossed the eastbound lanes, police said.

"Immediately it became apparent that this was a mass casualty situation," Superintendent Rob Lasson, officer in charge of major crime services for Manitoba, told reporters during a press briefing Thursday evening.

PHOTO: Smoke comes out of a car as first responders are at the scene of a deadly road accident near Carberry, west of Winnipeg, Canada, June 15, 2023.
Smoke comes out of a car as first responders are at the scene of a deadly road accident near Carberry, west of Winnipeg, Canada, June 15, 2023.
Nirmesh Vadera/AFP via Getty Images

Police said in an update Friday that footage of the collision from the semi-trailer indicated that the truck had the right of way.

"Extensive analysis is being done on the video before any further determinations are made," police said. "We are determining whether the semi had an event data recorder that will help us ascertain a number of critical pieces of information, such as speed, exact coordinates, and mechanical status."

The bus was carrying 25 people, the majority of whom were seniors, according to Assistant Commissioner Rob Hill. The passengers were between the ages of 55 and 88, police said.

Ten people -- six women and four men -- were transported to the hospital with various injuries, police said. The local medical examiner was working to confirm the identities of those killed, which included 13 women and two men, police said.

"To all those waiting, I can't imagine how difficult it is not knowing if the person you love the most will be making it home tonight," Hill said during the press briefing.

Both drivers survived the crash and are in the hospital, authorities said.

Lasson stressed Thursday that it was still early but that the incident will be investigated fully.

"We need to be alive to the fact that there could be wrongdoing and if so, there could be a criminal element to this investigation," Lasson said, calling it a "complex, large investigation."

PHOTO: First responders secure the area at the crash scene near Carberry, Manitoba, Canada, June 15, 2023, in this still image obtained from a social media video.
First responders secure the area at the crash scene near Carberry, Manitoba, Canada, June 15, 2023, in this still image obtained from a social media video.
Portageonline/mike Blume via Reuters

The head of the truck company involved in the crash, Day & Ross, said they will fully cooperate with the investigation and "offer any assistance and support that we can."

"All of us at Day & Ross are heartbroken by the tragic news out of Manitoba this afternoon," Day & Ross CEO William Doherty said in a statement to CTV. "The thoughts of the entire Day & Ross team are with those who have lost loved ones in this terrible incident, and we are holding out hope that those injured will recover."

PHOTO: A major collision has closed a section of the Trans-Canada Highway near Carberry, Manitoba, June 15, 2023.
A major collision has closed a section of the Trans-Canada Highway near Carberry, Manitoba, June 15, 2023.
Steve Lambert/The Canadian Press via AP

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the news of the crash "incredibly tragic."

"I'm sending my deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones today, and I'm keeping the injured in my thoughts," he tweeted. "I cannot imagine the pain those affected are feeling -- but Canadians are here for you."

ABC News' Aleem Agha and Ellie Kaufman contributed to this report.

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