First responders attend to the scene where a tornado touched down, uprooting trees and overturning two vehicles near Virden, Man., in a Friday, Aug. 7, 2020, handout photo published to social media. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Wallace District Fire Department

Small Manitoba town mourning after well-liked teens killed by tornado

Melita residents feeling profound grief after the deaths of Shayna Barnesky and Carter Tilbury

THE CANADIAN PRESS

The mayor of a small southwestern Manitoba town says everyone in the community is devastated after a tornado killed two well-liked teens.

Bill Holden says residents in Melita are feeling profound grief since Shayna Barnesky and Carter Tilbury, both 18, died Friday.

He says they were well-known and from large, private families in the community of just over 1,000 residents.

VIDEO: Brief tornado touches down in Saanich neighbourhood

RELATED: Tornadoes devastate Tennessee, killing at least 19 people

The pair were in a vehicle that was thrown by the tornado when it touched down near Virden, Man., about 68 kilometres north of the town.

Carolyn Cory, the local school division’s superintendent, says Barnesky had just finished high school and Tilbury had graduated the year before.

Crisis support is being provided to students and staff.

“We mourn this unimaginable loss and heartbreak for so many,” Cory said in an email. “This tragedy resonates across all of our division’s schools.”

A storm warning was issued for the area around 6:30 p.m. Friday, followed by a severe thunderstorm warning an hour later. At 7:49 p.m., a tornado warning was sent.

Photos and video show the giant twister touch down a few minutes later on Highway 83 south of Virden. Preliminary findings from an Environment and Climate Change Canada investigation indicate wind speeds reached 190 kilometres per hour.

Emergency responders later found extensive damage on a farm, with silos strewn throughout a field. Two vehicles had also been thrown into a nearby field.

A 54-year-old man from Sioux Valley Dakota First Nation was found in one of the vehicles and was taken to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

The second vehicle was located over a kilometre away. Police believed the teens were ejected from the vehicle. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

Holden said the deaths have affected everybody because the kids were liked throughout the area.

“It’s hard on the kids they went to school with. It’s hard on the families. It’s hard on the people they worked with. It’s just, you know, it’s just all around hard on everybody.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lamborghini driver slapped with nearly $1,000 in fines while speeding in Central Saanich

Vehicle impounded by Central Saanich police, 11 points issued

Saanich School District set to review its boundaries

Goal is to correct imbalances in school populations

New crop of hand-crafted hearts popping up across Saanich

Community arts program promotes wellness, sends message of caring from people of all ages

Hospital foundation president praises generosity of Peninsula residents

Karen Morgan said support during COVID-19, financial and otherwise, has been touching

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. marriage annulled because husband was unable to have sex with wife

Husband did not disclose any sexual health concerns to his wife prior to marriage

White Rock’s namesake spray-painted with Black Lives Matter slogan

Vandalism occurred sometime between Friday and Saturday

B.C. VOTES 2020: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

From 7% to zero, then back in at 3% to stimulate economy

Vancouver Island couple’s sheep farm dream disrupted by high lumber price

The solar powered farm project in Sayward will be set back by three years if the lumber price continues to remain high

Most Read