A Sudbury band is heading home after their cross-Canada tour was cut short following a hair-raising accident along a Saskatchewan highway.
The bluegrass music group called Murder Murder was driving their tour van near Whitewood, Sask. last Wednesday afternoon when they hit a major storm.
"The gusts were blowing the van all over the road and it was pretty scary. We dropped right down to 80 km/h. We thought that was safe," said Geoff McCausland, one of the band members.
"We were pulling a trailer with a twelve passenger van so the trailer acted a bit like a sail," he said.
The van lost traction and slid off the road into the ditch.
"The guy who was driving yelled out, "hold on boys!'" said McCausland.
The van hit the ditch and went into a roll, he said, spinning upside down and landing on its side.
"I looked up and it was actually pretty funny," McCausland said. "Our sound technician was suspended above me by his seat belt. He just kind of looked down instinctively and unclipped his seatbelt and fell on me."
The musicians had to pull each other out of the van.
McCausland said the band members were okay, except for one who had a bad cut on his hand. He was taken to hospital in Regina.
"Miraculously, everyone was able to walk away from the scene," McCausland said
Although the band was okay, their new van– which had recently received free maintenance from a local business– was not.
"It's totaled. It's not going anywhere," McCausland said.
The group's upright bass was also destroyed. The neck of it was broken off and a hole was punched in the back of it. The group still doesn't know how the other instruments are.
"We actually haven't checked yet, we don't feel up to it yet I don't think," said McCausland
Murder Murder is now on a train home, having played only three of their 14 shows on their cross-Canada tour.
"It's devastating," he said. "We'd invested a lot in merch and CDs and stuff, even just the gas to get out here. We were looking forward to making a good amount of money in those shows to get home with. And now we're heading home with very little."
A crowdfunding campaign has been created so the group can get a new van and get back on the road.
"The first thing out of everybody's mouth is, 'Is everybody okay?' and the next thing is, 'We're going to do everything we can to get you guys back on the road.' So that's really special," he said.
"We've driven through the snow, sleet, wind, rain, everything at this point," he said.
"Canada in winter is just hell."