A small Manitoba town is mourning the loss of a young couple after they were killed in a tornado Friday night.
Carter Tilbury and Shayna Barnesky, both 18 years old from Melita, Man., were driving near Virden, Man., when a tornado touched down in the area.
U’Shaun Campbell works at a local gas station and saw Tilbury and Barnesky before they left town Friday. He said he was shocked when his dad woke him from his sleep that night to tell him the teens had been killed.
“I started crying, I was like, ‘no way,’ because I just saw them,” Campbell said.
“They would always come in, get their stuff, always say ‘hi’ to me as soon as they walk through the door with a smile on their face.”
Environment Canada said the tornado hit just before 8 p.m. on Friday in Scarth, Man., about 13 kilometres south of Virden. It brought wind speeds of about 190 km/h, the agency said.
The truck Tilbury and Barnesky were in was one of two vehicles swept up and tossed into a field.
Manitoba RCMP said both were pronounced dead at the scene after they were thrown from their vehicle.
The driver of the second vehicle, a 54-year-old man, was taken to hospital in serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.
Barnesky worked at the Melita Co-op grocery store up until last summer.
Her former manager, Reg Orell, said three of his employees who are friends with Barnesky requested to stay home this weekend to grieve.
“I can’t imagine what the family is going through. It’s just terrible,” Orell said.
“She’s a great kid. Funny, energetic, did what she was told to do all the time and found things to do herself.”
Tilbury worked at farm equipment dealership Enns Brothers.
Branch manager Braydon Lesy got emotional as he told Global News that Tilbury was supposed to celebrate his one-year anniversary with the company on Aug. 13.
“Like any 18-year-old, he loved his truck, loved all the toys with engines,” Lesy said in a letter.
“Every single person at our branch got along with him, more than got along actually.”
Bill Holden is the mayor of the tiny town of just 1,000.
He knew the couple and said the whole community is hurting.
“It’s not a good time for the town. I can tell you that right now,” Holden said.
“It’s bad enough when you lose two young people like this anywhere but when you lose a couple like this in a small community, everybody is impacted.”