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Fundraiser for triple-fatal crash on Sea-to-Sky Highway raises $79K

Click to play video: 'Whistler rallies around family after tragedy'
Whistler rallies around family after tragedy
A community in Whistler is rallying around a family who suddenly lost three of its family members in a crash last weekend. As Alissa Thibault reports, those who know them say the level of tragedy is unimaginable – Dec 2, 2023

An online fundraiser for three family members killed in the crash, including a two-year-old child, has raised more than $79,000 so far.

The crash happened just south of Whistler on the Sea-to-Sky Highway on the morning of Sunday, Nov. 26. Police said the vehicle went off the highway and hit a tree.

Two-year-old Natalia Portillo, 22-year-old Josafat Portillo and 21-year-old James Paguia died.

Josafat is Natalia’s father and James is Natalia’s uncle. Natalia’s mother, Iris, survived the crash but was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

According to Josafat’s mother, Karen Portillo, the family was returning home after a church event when the tragic crash happened. She spoke with Global News on Monday.

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“(Natalia) was full of life. Everybody loved her because she was a happy baby, a happy child, and everyone wanted to (hold) her. She was very, very loved,” Karen said.

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Click to play video: 'Multiple fatal crashes in Lower Mainland this weekend'
Multiple fatal crashes in Lower Mainland this weekend

The cause of the crash is under investigation by the Lower Mainland Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service.

The funds raised will be going toward funeral arrangements and to assist Iris, who lost her husband, daughter and brother.

Josefat, James and Iris all worked at Nesters Market in Whistler. The business is also holding its own fundraiser for the family.

Global News spoke with a manager at the store, regarding the deaths on Saturday.

“The community has really come together to help take care (of the family),” Bruce Stewart said. “One of the things about this international town that we live in is its small town. We all know each other and everyone knows this family, they are well known. I’ve had many, many customers walk in here and donate money. They just walk in and give me money. They come into my office, give me a hug and cry just because they heard what happened.”

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