Funerals beginning for those killed in bus crash near Carberry

A leader in Manitoba’s afterlife-care industry says funeral directors and staff are working closely together. @_MorganModjeski reports.

Funerals and memorial services for the 16 people killed in the bus crash near Carberry, Manitoba have begun, as families, friends, and an entire community in mourning, are laying their loved ones to rest.

“No one funeral home, especially in a small community, is equipped to deal with that many services at once, so it’s very important that we come together as colleagues, as opposed to competitors, to work together to serve the needs of the families,” said Kevin Sweryd, with the Manitoba Funeral Services Association. “It’s profound how much they care.”

A funeral service for Donna Showdra was held on Monday. A gathering to remember the avid traveller, caregiver, and beloved matriarch who moved to Dauphin in 1995.

On Tuesday the family of Claudia Zurba gathered. People were asked to wear bright colours to honour Zurba, described as a “great, great nana” whose life is being remembered as a blessing.

“Across human history and across human culture, people have come together to support when one of the members of that community has passed, so it’s of incredible importance, and sometimes, in our day and age, it’s discounted as to how critical it is,” said Sweryd.

More memorials and funeral services are planned for the coming days and weeks.

Sweryd says he can’t recall another instance in the province where so many people were taken so suddenly.


He says funeral home directors in and around Dauphin are working together to ensure resources are available and there are no scheduling conflicts for services.

“It’s a situation where it’s critical they feel the love, support and gathering of that community,” said Sweryd.

Those killed in the crash were identified last week by RCMP. Family members and first responders carried out images of each individual before their names were read aloud for the first time.

Insp. Lee Fortin with the Manitoba RCMP commended the families for their strength and compassion during such a tragedy.

“It was a terrible tragedy and there’s a lot of emotion – wide-ranging – with the families involved, but I can say even in this tragedy, I’m overly impressed with the community and the families involved,” said Fortin.

“They’re dealing with the loss of their loved ones, and they’re asking how our first responders are doing. They’re worried about our care and what’s happening with our members and the first responders, so it’s just an absolutely amazing community.”

Sweryd says while it’s a conversation some may be hesitant to have, he says the tragic and sudden crash shows why it’s so important for people to talk with their loved ones about their end-of-life wishes.

“As this tragedy underscores, we don’t know how much time we have. We’re not guaranteed to pass away in a hospital after being able to talk with our families for an extended period of time about what was important to us,” said Sweryd.

On Tuesday, Shared Health officials say nine people remain in the hospital, with four in critical care. Manitoba RCMP says its investigation into the cause of the crash is still ongoing.

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