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Manitoba crash update: Answers could take ‘weeks or months’, investigators say

Click to play video: 'Manitoba Crash: RCMP says limited testimony, reliance on forensics are complexities in determining fault'
Manitoba Crash: RCMP says limited testimony, reliance on forensics are complexities in determining fault
Manitoba RCMP superintendent Rob Lasson discussed the ongoing investigation on Monday into Thursday's deadly collision at the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 5 that killed at least 15 people. Lasson said gathering testimony of passengers on the bus to reveal what happened will take time due to the severity and trauma of the victim's injuries – Jun 19, 2023

Determining what, exactly, happened near Carberry, Man., on Thursday morning remains a top priority for investigators, but RCMP Supt. Rob Lasson says it will take time before the public gets any definitive answers.

Lasson, of the Manitoba RCMP’s major crimes unit, spoke to media Monday morning alongside Manitoba premier Heather Stefanson and Shared Health CEO Lanette Siragusa. He said the unique circumstances surrounding the tragic crash on the Trans-Canada Highway that left 15 people dead have made it a challenging investigation.

A mechanical analysis of the crash takes time, he said — potentially “a number of months”.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba crash update: Answers could take ‘weeks or months’, investigators say'
Manitoba crash update: Answers could take ‘weeks or months’, investigators say

“I know everyone has many questions about what has happened, and I assure you these answers will come,” Lasson said.

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“All steps are being taken to get the answers as efficiently as possible, keeping in mind that accuracy is paramount and something that will not be sacrificed in the name of expediency.

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“The most complex part is we have to determine accurate answers here, and by accurate answers, I mean, ‘was someone at fault?'”

That’s not as easy as you might expect, he said, especially given the scale of the tragedy, and the fact that many of the surviving witnesses remain in critical condition in hospitals in Winnipeg and Brandon — not to mention that those who are able to speak to police may need more time to properly recall the events of Thursday.

“Normally we have numerous amounts of eyewitnesses, this time we don’t. All the witnesses were in the bus and a number of them are in trauma right now. This is a very unique situation, and with the numbers involved as well.”

RCMP said Friday that dashcam footage seized from the transport vehicle showed the truck that collided with the bus of seniors had the right of way when a minibus pulled into the intersection.

Police made it clear, however, that they weren’t assigning blame at this point in the investigation.

Siragusa confirmed Monday that 10 people remain hospitalized — six women and four men in their 60s to their 80s — and five remain in critical care.

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Click to play video: 'Manitoba crash: Dauphin community leans on one another in wake of tragedy'
Manitoba crash: Dauphin community leans on one another in wake of tragedy

Amid calls for changes to the intersection of Highways 1 and 5 where the crash took place, premier Stefanson said Monday that a review is already underway, something that happens whenever there’s a highway crash, but this deadly incident means additional experts are involved in the study.

Stefanson, who called for a moment of silence in honour of the victims, said the province is willing to help where it can — whether that involves coordinating fundraising efforts for the victims, or, crucially, providing support to their families during this difficult, uncertain time.

“It’s tough to even begin to imagine what those families are going through right now,” Stefanson said.

“I have instructed Manitoba Health to immediately make resources available for family members affected, to be reimbursed for any travel, hotel or food costs needed… our message to you is we are here to help you at this very difficult time.”

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Click to play video: 'Manitoba bus crash: The future of the Trans Canada Highway'
Manitoba bus crash: The future of the Trans Canada Highway

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