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Three Kelowna high school students killed in crash

There has been an eruption of grief in response to the death of three Kelowna Secondary students in a horrific crash Tuesday night.
A small group gathers Wednesday at a memorial at the site of Tuesday night's fatal crash in Kelowna that claimed the lives of three high school students.

There has been an eruption of grief in response to the death of three Kelowna Secondary students in a horrific crash Tuesday night.

A roadside memorial appeared at the site of the crash on Gordon Drive shortly after the road reopened Wednesday afternoon.

A group of about 25 friends of the victims gathered Wednesday night at the memorial to place flowers and pay their respects. Youth hugged and shed tears at the very quiet gathering. Some teens sat by themselves, while others came over to console them.

The deceased have not yet been publicly identified, but police say two females aged 17 and 18, and a male aged 18 died in the crash.

In a Facebook post Wednesday night, local MP Dan Albas called the incident “heartbreaking.”

“My thoughts are with the families, friends and KSS faculty who are suffering this unimaginable loss,” he said.

“When a tragedy happens, it reminds us all how precious and fragile our lives are and how interconnected our communities have become.”

Mayor Colin Basran issued a video statement offering his condolences.

“As a parent, getting that call in the middle of the night is your worst nightmare. And now these three families are living that nightmare,” he said. “So I ask to please do what you can to send your love, strength and support to help them through this incredibly difficult time.”

Central Okanagan School District superintendent Kevin Kaardal says they are trying to support the crash victims’ family and friends however they can.

“We are all deeply saddened by this loss, and our thoughts are especially with the students and staff at KSS, who have just lost three students, classmates, and graduates,” Kaardal said.

The school district’s “post-critical incident response team” was on site at Kelowna Secondary on Wednesday.

“We will continue to have supports in place at the school for as long as needed, through our dedicated counsellors and staff. We are grateful for the strength of our staff and the KSS school community, who will need time to grieve and draw closer than ever to get each other through this tragic end to a difficult year. We thank the community at large for their understanding and continued support during this difficult time,” Kaardal continued.

The cause of Tuesday night’s crash, where a black Honda Civic collided with a utility pole, remains under investigation.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to friends and family affected by this tragic collision. RCMP Victim Services are providing support to the witnesses, friends and family of the victims during this difficult time,” said the Kelowna RCMP.