Three days of sorrow began in St. Brieux, Sask., on Monday as the first of several funerals was held for five girls and a woman who died following a crash.
The town of about 500 is mourning the deaths of Charlene Bahan, her two daughters, Aspyn and Madison, and three other girls — Jasmine Coquet, Mikayla Piatt and Meara Hunt. The children were all between 7 and 10.
On Monday, the funeral was for Jasmine Coquet, 10.
On Thursday, Coquet and the other five were on their way back from a birthday party in Melfort when the sport utility vehicle they were in veered off the highway into a water-filled dugout. After it hit the water, the SUV turned over and was submerged.
Bahan and three of the girls died on the scene. Two others died in hospital the next day.
In the days since the accident, the town in east-central Saskatchewan has been pulling together, trying to come to grips with the loss.
"We are a community in mourning. We have been deeply wounded," St. Brieux Mayor Pauline Boyer said on the weekend. "Hopefully in time the pain will ease and the healing can begin."
Funerals for the other five will be held in the town Tuesday and Wednesday. The five girls were between seven and 10 years old.
Brian Bedard, an uncle of one of the victims, said the families are requesting that the news media stay away from the funerals and interments and not to approach the families at their homes.
"Please give us all the privacy that we need so that we can do what really needs to be done to help these families," Bedard said.