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

Crash limits Highway 6 traffic near Lumby

Another crash reported by DriveBC following morning logging truck rollover

Sound effects at play for Caravan’s Halloween event

Walk of Terror is returning, with a creepy twist

‘Hate will not be tolerated:’ Vernon mayor

City, groups speak out against racism-promoting flyers spread around town

Two taken to hospital after logging truck rolls over near Lumby

Single-lane alternating traffic is in effect on Lumby-Mabel Lake Road near Birch Road

Police block off Kalamalka Lake Road in Coldstream due to incident

RCMP responded to early-morning report of man in distress, road to be closed for “several hours”

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Mitchell’s Musings: Predictions, politics and pandemics

Columnist Glenn Mitchell offers some random thoughts on current affairs

B.C. VOTES 2020: Wilkinson to stop 24-hour camping in city parks

Ban on ‘unsafe roadside panhandling’ to be enforced

West Kelowna start-up wins Emmy for virtual production on Red Bull Rampage

XR Media Group won the Outstanding Digital Innovation Award

RCMP seize guns, drugs, motorhome from Okanagan residence

Search warrant executed in relation to an ongoing investigation into drug trafficking

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Lessons from a pandemic: How to design a nursing home that’s safe and love-filled

A look at how one care home is battling the pandemic with the social needs of the elderly in their care

Winter tires, chains now mandatory along most B.C. highways

Drivers without the proper winter tires – which must also be in good condition – can be fined $109

Documentary to celebrate the Shuswap’s music scene

Local initiative to feature several of the region’s artists

Most Read