Two dead in Man. after RCMP believe tornado threw vehicle into field

Tornado kills two

RCMP say a man and a woman are dead after a tornado touched down at a farm in western Manitoba on Friday evening and carried a vehicle they were believed to have been in over a kilometre.

A man who was in a second vehicle that was also thrown has survived with serious injuries.

Police say they arrived at the farm near Highway 83 south of Virden shortly after 8 p.m., local time. They say the property was extensively damaged and two vehicles had been thrown into a nearby field.

A search of the first vehicle, found closer to the highway, located a 54-year-old man from the Sioux Valley Dakota First Nation, who was taken to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Officers located the second vehicle over a kilometre away, and they along with other first responders found the bodies of a man and a woman, who were both 18 and from Melita, Man.

Police say it's believed the pair were ejected from their vehicle.

RCMP said that they, along with EMS, continued to search the area for other possible victims but none were located.

Misheyla Iwasiuk, a local storm chaser, said it was the biggest storm she's seen in her life.

"It was a pretty bad scene ... This storm was large, very violent and it wasn't anticipated," said Iwasiuk, who added the tornado flipped a car before hitting a farm and damaging buildings and equipment.

"We were assisting a gentleman whose vehicle unfortunately was flipped over and he was trapped inside of it."

She said multiple people stopped to help before emergency crews arrived and extracted the man from the car, which landed on top of downed power lines.

Iwasiuk said farm buildings in the area took extensive damage after taking a direct hit from the storm. She also said emergency responders were assisting people in the fields who were hit by the storm while in farm equipment.

Environment Canada said it received reports about the storm just before 8 p.m. local time on Friday.

Meteorologist Alysa Pederson described the twister as very large in size, but said it's not yet known how powerful the storm was.

She said the storm lasted for around 10 to 20 minutes.

The government agency says a damage survey will be completed today with the help of a team from the University of Manitoba.

The STARS air ambulance service said it dispatched a helicopter from Winnipeg to respond to an emergency in the Virden area.

Pederson said anyone with video or information about damage from the storm should reach out to Environment Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 8, 2020.

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