Police waiting for tests to identify victims of fiery crash as friends and family mourn
RCMP say five people died in a fiery crash on a northern Manitoba highway early Friday morning.
Emergency crews were called to Highway 10, about three km south of The Pas, around 4:30 a.m.
A Chevy Cavalier and a Jeep Wrangler had collided head on, said RCMP. Both vehicles were set ablaze by the collision.
Four people were inside the Cavalier at the time of the crash and none of them survived.
Opaskwayak Cree Nation Chief Michael Constant said that three of the people who were killed were band members, including his 24-year-old nephew Dion Frederick Constant. However, he would not confirm the identities of the other victims, out of respect for their families.
Phillip Dorion, said his granddaughter, Jessie Dorion, was killed in the crash. She was Dion Constant's girlfriend.
"It hits you like a tonne of bricks," he said.
Dorion said that the youth of The Pas are struggling the most with the tragedy.
Media, family members, and posts on social networking site have identified the victims in the Cavalier as Kennith Lathlin, Dion Constant, Jessica Dorion and Nicole Rabiscah.
However, RCMP spokesperson Constable Miles Heibert said officers will not confirm the identities of the crash victims, despite the statements from family members, until forensic tests are complete.
Police have been in contact with the family members of the young people who died, Dorion said.
Country musician Errol Ranville was in the Wrangler and was flown to hospital in Winnipeg following the crash. His wife, Marcie Ranville, was also in the Wrangler but did not survive the collision.
Errol's brother Wally Ranville spoke with media on Friday and said Errol is in stable conditin and is expected to make a full recovery.
"We appreciate everybody's concern," said Wally.
The family also asked for prayers for all of the victims as well as privacy for the Ranville family.
Errol Ranville and his band C-Weed had been slated to perform in The Pas Friday and Saturday. Vince Fontaine, a musician who played with the band, says people are devastated.
"Just speaking from the music community, I know people are shocked, saddened. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Ranville and his family and we are really saddened by the loss of his wife," said Fontaine.
It's expected the surrounding stretch of Highway 10 would be closed for the remainder of Friday. Detours were in place and RCMP said motorists should expect delays.
Road conditions were reported to have been good prior to the crash, say RCMP.