Quebec mother killed in Mexico bus crash
Published Wednesday, December 20, 2017 7:37AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 20, 2017 7:20PM EST
A 42-year-old Quebec woman was killed in Tuesday’s tour bus crash in eastern Mexico.
CTV News has confirmed Stephanie Horwood from Gatineau died in the accident. Her partner and two daughters were also hurt, though their injuries are said to be less serious.
Horwood suffered a serious head injury and died in an ambulance, according to her partner’s mother, who said the two girls saw their mother covered with a blanket.
Fred Reinthaler’s mother said the family left for Mexico to enjoy their first cruise last Thursday, and planned to return to Canada on Saturday. Reinthaler and the two girls, ages 9 and 11, are now expected to return to Canada on Thursday.
Reinthaler’s mother described Horwood as a “happy, jolly person,” and expressed disbelief over her death. She said two funeral services will be held -- one in Horwood’s native St. John's, N.L., and the other in Gatineau.
Horwood’s friend Gillian Fahy wrote on Facebook that she lost a “lovely, warm-hearted, beautiful soul.” She included a photo of a motivational post Horwood wrote on Dec. 12.
Stephanie passed away in Mexico yesterday. She was a lovely, warm-hearted, beautiful soul. I was lucky to have known...Posted by Gillian Fahy on Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Mexican officials said eight Americans, two Swedes, and one Mexican were the others killed in the crash. The cause is still under investigation.
Victor Maciel Fontes Jacques said he was on board when the crash happened and witnessed the gruesome aftermath.
“There were dead people. We saw some older people that were still tied to their seatbelts. We released them, but there were a lot of dead people on the floor,” he said.
Carrie Vanrentherghem said she saw the aftermath of the bus crash and the field of debris scattered across the highway.
“The full windshield was gone and the side was smashed,” she said. “It had fallen sideways it looked like, I think by itself.”
The bus driver is believed to have survived the accident, according to Chris Sherman, an Associated Press correspondent in Mexico City. However, it’s not known if the driver was injured or if investigators have had a chance to speak with him or her.
The U.S. embassy has been tight-lipped on details pertaining to affected Americans, only saying that they’re aware of several U.S. citizens injured during the crash, Sherman said.
A cruise ship passenger who was travelling in another bus behind the one that crashed told Sherman that the skies were clear and the roadway was dry that day.
“It was a very narrow highway, just two lanes, no shoulder, no guardrails, and he saw a lot of swerve marks on the pavement, which led him to believe that something had caused the driver to lose control,” Sherman told CTV News Channel.
Global Affairs Canada previously said one Canadian had been killed and three others were injured.
The agency weighed in on earlier reports that emerged Wednesday claiming that four Canadians had been killed in Tuesday’s crash.
“Consular officials in Ottawa and in Playa del Carmen, Mexico are in contact with affected Canadian citizens as well as family members and are providing consular assistance as required,” Global Affairs Canada said in a statement to CTV News.
The earlier reports cited an official from Costa Maya Mahahual, the involved bus company, and suggested that four Canadians had been among the 12 people killed when the bus flipped over on the highway.
Mexican authorities said 18 other people were injured in the accident, and 31 were on board.
The tour bus was transporting cruise ship passengers from two Royal Caribbean cruise ships, the Celebrity Equinox and Serenade of the Seas, to Mayan ruins at Chacchoben, about 175 kilometres south of Tulum, when it crashed, authorities said.
With a file from The Canadian Press