A small town in western Manitoba is mourning the loss of a young couple after a devastating tornado Friday evening.
Shayna Barnesky and Carter Tilbury, both 18, have been identified by friends and family online as the victims.
Police say they believe the young couple was driving through the RM of Pipestone, returning home from a date, when the tornado struck. It tossed Tilbury's truck into a field, over a kilometre from the highway they were travelling on. Both were ejected from the vehicle.
The two teens were from the town of Melita, Manitoba, approximately 270 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg.
In tributes posted online, friends and family remember the young couple fondly. "I’m still in complete shock and can’t take in that this is all real," one friend writes. " You were the kindest soul and I looked up to you like a mentor."
The town's mayor, Bill Holden, describes the teens to several media outlets as "two of the nicest kids in town."
A 54-year-old male, from Sioux Valley Dakota First Nation, was in another vehicle thrown into the field. He was taken to hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.
A meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada says the preliminary assessment of the deadly Manitoba tornado indicates it likely had a strength of an E-F-2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.
Alysa Pederson described Friday's twister south of Virden as very large in size, and said preliminary findings indicate wind speeds reached 190 kilometres per hour.