Tornado at Scarth, south of Virden, claims two lives

A tornado that ripped through Scarth area claimed two lives and injured a third person. 

Two vehicles travelling Highway 83 at the time the tornado swept through, were lifted off the highway and thrown into the nearby field.

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The funnel left tracks of its path, from the southwest tracking northeast, devastating the farmsite of Giovanni (Johnny) Colangelo along Highway #83.

The farm home showed minor damage.

There, just kilometres to the east is where victims travelling the highway lost their lives.

At approximately 8:10 p.m., on Aug. 7, Virden RCMP received a report of a tornado having touched down near Highway 83 and Road 50N in the RM of Pipestone, located approximately 16 kilometres south of Virden.

Officers found farm property with extensive damage and 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 male 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 individuals, an 18-year-old male and 18-year-old female, both from Melita, who are believed to have been ejected from the vehicle. They were both pronounced deceased on scene.

Debris from the twister was scattered throughout an area to the east and police, along with EMS searched the area for other possible victims but none were located. Virden RCMP continue to investigate.

In the morning, a crew from Cromer, about 20 miles (32 Kms) to the east, was on the scene with heavy equipment and chainsaws, giving assistance, clearing up the yard.

Manitoba Hydro crews from as far away as Morden were on the scene replacing hydro poles that were snapped in the wind the previous evening.

Residents of the area, including the town of Virden, were out of power. Virden’s power was restored that same evening, but rural customers were still without power Saturday.

On nearby property, a large barn was also destroyed.

This was the first loss of lives in this area through a natural disaster in decades, if ever.

© Virden Empire-Advance

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