Toby Boulet from Humboldt, Sask., said his family was ‘gutted’ when they heard the news of the bus crash near 207/major-crash-reported-on-highway-1-near-carberry-man/">Carberry, Man., on Thursday.
Boulet lost his son Logan in 2018 in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.
Manitoba officials confirmed 15 people were killed when a semi-truck and a passenger bus collided on Highway 1 west of Winnipeg.
The crash occurred at the highway’s intersection with Highway 5 near the town of Carberry.
Assistant Commissioner Rob Hill, commanding officer of the Manitoba RCMPsaid the passenger bus was carrying 25 people, mostly from Dauphin, Man., and the surrounding communities.
He said the majority of the passengers were seniors.
A total of 10 people were sent to the hospital, including the drivers of both vehicles.
“It’s just another national tragedy where lives are shattered,” Boulet said. “Having been at the centre of the Humboldt Broncos crash, our family have spent the last five years going over it, reliving it, and asking why.”
Humboldt Broncos bus crash survivor speaks on 5-year anniversary
He said the questions never end.
“Logan is always in our minds. The people in Carberry are about to embark on a journey nobody wants to go on,” Boulet said. “You are asked to say and be part of things that you do not want to be. This crash hits hard across America. Everyone has been on a bus, everybody has seen a truck driving on the highway.”
He said his family has always been vocal about their experience, but not everyone grieves the same.
“People have to be cautious and provide space to these families unless they make it known they want to have people in their lives.”
He stressed that each family is going through something different, as some are still waiting for news about their loved ones.
“The first thing I experienced was just a sinking knot in my stomach, I just flashed back to five years ago and the feelings,” said Humboldt Mayor Michael Behiel remembering the Humboldt crash.
“I thought, this is your time to be there for those people when they need a shoulder to lean on like they were when we had our tragedy,” Behiel said.
Supt. Rob Lasson of Manitoba RCMP Major Crimes Services said some of the primary investigators from the Humboldt Broncos crash are helping investigate Thursday’s crash.
Deadly Manitoba crash has ‘echoes’ to Humboldt tragedy: RCMP
Behiel said he doesn’t claim to be an expert in tragedies like this, but noted Humboldt has experienced the healing process and is there for Manitobans.
“They need to not be afraid to be vulnerable, to grieve, to not try to let it out and just be strong and put that happy face on, that solid face on,” Behiel said. “It is only going to hit them much harder trying to avoid processing all of this. Do not hesitate to lean on your neighbour.
“Everybody needs to give that method of support and do whatever they possibly can and everyone needs to accept that there are people hurting and grieving right now, to offer them a shoulder to cry on and also give them space if they need space because there is no set way that people can grieve.”
Grief counsellor Kyla Bernardo said grief lasts as long as love lasts.
“Grief is essentially love with nowhere to go anymore. So, it’s important for people to know that grief can come in ebbs and flows and intensities and decrease over time but it is still going to be there,” Bernardo said.
Northeast EMS chief Jessica Brost says her heart goes out to the families bus passengers, as well as first responders and paramedics on the scene.
“You are faced with a very difficult task,” Brost said, commemorating responders that were at the scene in Carberry. “They delivered.”
Brost was one of many first responders to the Humboldt crash in 2018.
“I learnt a lot from the Humboldt patients and survivors and their families themselves, be grateful for the time you have and live your best life,” Brost said.
She noted everyone from Northeast EMS that responded to the Humboldt crash is still in the profession.
“It speaks to themselves, the self-care and the resiliency, the work they did on themselves to move forward from that event. Take some time for recovery. If it is extending that time period when you are feeling symptoms of overwhelmingness, depression or sadness, reach out,” Brost said, encouraging Manitoba responders to focus on their mental health.
“We are very much thinking that we will be reaching out them once the dust settles a little bit because the whole event itself will be overwhelming.”
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe posted a tweet Thursday commenting on the devastating day, saying he has reached out to Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson to offer support.
“From the first responders to the loved ones of all those involved in Manitoba’s tragedy today, Saskatchewan is grieving with you,” read the tweet. “I have reached out to let Heather Stefanson know that we are prepared to offer any immediate supports we can as they deal with this tragedy in the days and weeks to come.”
The Humboldt Broncos tweeted, “We are devastated to learn of the tragic news coming from Carberry, Manitoba. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved and affected.”
– with files from Global News’ Sean Boynton and Sam Thompson
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