OTTAWA (Reuters) -At least 15 people were killed in the Canadian prairie province of Manitoba on Thursday after a semi-trailer truck hit a vehicle normally used to carry elderly and disabled people, the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper said.

The crash occurred near the town of Carberry in southwestern Manitoba, 170 km (105 miles) west of Winnipeg, the report said. If the death toll is confirmed, it would represent one of the most lethal road accidents in recent Canadian history.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp broadcast video from the scene that showed firefighters spraying water on a burning white vehicle that was in a ditch to the side of the road. It also showed a still picture of a blue truck with a smashed-in front.

The Winnipeg Free Press said the second vehicle was operated by Handi-Transit, which transports the elderly and those with disabilities. The CTV network also said 15 people had died.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said all available resources were being deployed to the scene. Manitoba health authorities said “mass casualty response” was under way.

Manitoba police are due to brief reporters at 4:30 p.m. (2130 GMT).

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“My heart breaks hearing the news of the tragic accident near Carberry,” Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson said on Twitter.

In neighboring Saskatchewan, 16 people died in April 2018 after a truck hit a bus transporting a junior hockey team on a rural road. The truck driver was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2019.


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