By Meagan Fiddler and Tiar Wilson
APTN National News
WINNIPEG–A Northern First Nation Manitoba community is reeling after a horrific crash near The Pas, Man., killed at least five people early Friday morning.
RCMP are still trying to identify the deceased, but it’s believed that at least four of the victims were between 18 and 23 years of age.
The wife of well-known Manitoba musician Errol Ranville is also believed to have died in the crash. Ranville is reportedly the only survivor and was flown to hospital in Winnipeg where he is believed to be in serious condition.
Four of the victims were in one of the cars involved in the 4:30 a.m. head-on collision. Police said a 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier and a 2007 Jeep Wrangler crashed and one vehicle burst into flames on Hwy. 10, about three kilometres south of The Pas.
“There is a significant amount of fire damage. At this point we can’t ascertain the identities of the four people in the Cavalier,” said RCMP Const. Miles Hiebert.
Many of the victims are from or connected to Opaskwayak Cree Nation, a small community near The Pas where everyone knows everyone, said Chief Mike Constant.
“I think the community has woken up to a tragedy that no parent or no community wants to hear,” said Constant. “It’s tough to not only lose a loved one but a young person in your community. It’s tougher to absorb or sort of comprehend the nature of the tragedy, but those kind of elements are out of our control. It’s in the creator’s hands.”
The community’s school is closed and crisis workers have been called.
Back in Winnipeg, Ranville’s friends in the music industry where also finding it tough to digest the news.
Ranville fronts the C-Weed band and he had performed in APTN’s studios this past June.
“I admire the way that he could write and sing. My thoughts and prayers are with Errol that he can pull through,” said Ray St. Germain.