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Two Killed, One Injured by Tornado in Southwestern Manitoba

August 8, 2020 12:29 PM | News

Virden Tornado

A tornado touches down south of Virden, Manitoba on Friday, August 7, 2020. (SEAN SCHOFER / PRAIRIE STORM CHASES / TWITTER)

Two people were killed Friday night when a tornado touched down approximately 16 kilometres south of Virden, Manitoba.

Environment Canada says it’s investigating after a large tornado touched near Highway 83 and Road 50N in the RM of Pipestone just after 8 p.m.

RCMP say two vehicles had been carried away and 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 along with emergency services personnel, performed a ground search where they located two more people, an 18-year-old man and 18-year-old woman, both from Melita, who are believed to have been ejected from the vehicle. They were both pronounced deceased on scene.

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.

Meteorologist Alysa Pederson described the twister as very large but said it’s not yet known how powerful and damaging it was.

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 by emailing mbstorm@canada.ca.

— With files from The Canadian Press