Two of the students were 23 years old, according to local police. Age of the third victim has not been determined yet
Three Bangladeshi students have been killed in a road accident in Canada, according to local reports.
The victims, all students of the University of Manitoba, died in a head-on crash north of Winnipeg on Thursday, CBC News reported.
Two cars collided early in the morning on the highway, about 10km south of the Interlake community of Arborg, the report said quoting the local unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
The Bangladeshi students were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the RCMP.
They have been identified as Aranoor Azad Chowdhury, Al Numan Aditta, and Raisul Badhan.
"It's very devastating to the community," Tasneem Vali, vice-chair of Manitoba Islamic Association, told CBC News.
Police said two of the students were 23 years old. They have yet to verify the third student’s age.
Alcohol is not considered a factor in the collision, which remains under investigation, RCMP said.
Aranoor was a third-year student studying statistics, Badhan was also in the third year studying accounting and supply chain at the Asper School of Business, and Aditta was studying agriculture, said the trio’s friend Fardeen Zareef.
The three friends had driven north with three other cars to try to see Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, a natural phenomenon of light that occurs in the sky close to the North Pole, Zareef said.
On the way back, two cars drove ahead, while the car with the three students and the fourth car stopped for refuelling on the way.
Aditta, Aranoor and Badhan continued on while the people in the fourth car chose to eat breakfast before driving ahead again, Zareef was quoted by the CBC News report.
When the people in the fourth car started to drive back, they drove past the scene of a head-on crash of two cars. One of the cars had flipped over, said Zareef.
It is with great sorrow we inform you that three of our Bangladeshi Students at the University of Manitoba Md Aranoor...Posted by University of Manitoba Bangladeshi Students' Association - UMBSA on Thursday, February 18, 2021
One of those cars was carrying the Bangladeshi students. A 53-year-old woman from the rural municipality of Armstrong was in the other, northbound car. She received serious but non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to hospital in Winnipeg.
The Manitoba Islamic Association is handling the funeral arrangements, along with offering grief counselling and other support to anyone who needs that help, Tasneem Vali said.
The families of all three students are overseas. News about the crash came around 10:30am on Thursday, local time, and the families were immediately reached out to, said Abdul Ahad, president of the Muslim Student Association at the University of Manitoba.
"It took a little time to actually digest the whole situation, because it was a bit unbelievable, [and] in Bangladesh it [was] nighttime," he added.
Vali said her association will also offer counselling online for any family members, adding there are many arrangements to be made regarding the bodies and the funerals.
Zareef said he had met the three young men in 2018 because they were a part of the same social circles.
He added that Aditta was "like an older brother" and the best cook Zareef knew. "We used to call him Chef Pablo," he said, mentioning that Aditta's nickname was Pablo.
The four of them planned to graduate together this spring, Zareef said.
“International students tend to stick together because they don't have other people, such as their parents, around for support,” said Ahad, president of the Muslim Student Association at their university.
“The three students, in their own ways, supported other members of the community and became really respected and really loved," he added.
"They were some of the best faces in our community. They were the example," said Zareef. "That is why our community and people who knew them are feeling their loss.”