The Hindu community in New Brunswick is mourning the deaths of three international students who were killed in a single-vehicle crash near Moncton over the Labour Day weekend.
As a tribute to the dead, the Indo-Canadian Society of Saint John gathered in Fredericton this weekend, coming together for a traditional prayer meeting at the only Hindu temple in the province.
“It’s so that their souls rest in peace, and since, in the last two weeks, we all had developed connections, even though we didn’t know them, it’s our way to find closure,” said Atul Sancheti, president of the Moncton-area Indo-Canada Association.
The Subaru involved in the crash was reportedly travelling west along the Trans Canada Highway in the Moncton area on Sept. 1 when police say it lost control and rolled over onto the median.
Investigators say the three men who died in the crash were not wearing seatbelts and were ejected from the vehicle during the collision. Two of the men died at the scene, and the third died later in hospital, according to police.
The 28-year-old driver, who is also originally from India, was taken to hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries. A 25-year-old man in the passenger seat was not injured.
Members of the Indo-Canadian Society say they aided police and investigators at the hospital after the crash.
The three who died — two 24-year-old men and a 29-year-old man — were all classmates in New Brunswick Community College’s engineering program in Saint John and had arrived in Canada only days before the crash.
“I was in shock but I also knew that I need to act fast so I just wanted to reach out and make sure everyone is looked after and taken care of,” said Amit Tamrakar, president of the Indo-Canadian Society.
Tamrakar’s feeling was echoed by others who attended the ceremony on Sunday.
“This one is, for us and for our Indian community, it was a disaster,” said Minasha Virma, a member of the Indo-Canadian Society.
WATCH: 3 dead, 2 injured in highway crash on southern New Brunswick highway
Police say speed may have been a factor in the crash and that the driver has received a summons to appear in court on Dec. 13.
The driver did not attend the ceremony on Sunday, and he may face charges pending a police investigation.
The bodies of the dead have been sent back to India. The Indo-Canadian Society says it would like to see increased cultural training for newcomers, such as driver and safety training.
— With files from the Canadian Press