Bangladeshi Canadians mourning after three international students killed in crash

TORONTO – A Bangladeshi community organization is mourning the deaths of three international students killed in a highway crash in Toronto and is warning others to be aware that road conditions in Canada might differ from what they’re used to.

Police say a car travelling at extremely high speeds on Highway 427 flew over a concrete ramp, landed in a ditch, and then hit another concrete wall before it burst into flames late Monday night.

Ontario Provincial Police say four international students from Bangladesh, who were living in Toronto, were pulled from the car.

“We’re very concerned about the manner and description of this crash,” said Sgt. Kerry Schmidt. “(A) very violent collision took place.”

A 20-year-old man and 17-year-old boy who were sitting in the back seats were pronounced dead on the highway and a 20-year-old woman sitting in the front passenger seat died after being taken to hospital, police said.

The 21-year-old driver of the car remains in critical condition.

Nazia Hossain, the vice-president of the National Bangladeshi-Canadian Council, said the driver is the son of a popular musician in Bangladesh and all the international students in the car went to different schools in the Greater Toronto Area.

“It is a very sad story. It is a great loss,” Hossain said Wednesday in a phone interview.

“The one who is driving … I hope he recovers and he’s back to his normal life.”

Hossain said the families of the international students are devastated.

“Their parents are in very, very bad condition,” she said, adding that her organization is mourning with the families.

The crash should be a warning for other international students who come to Canada about how road conditions may differ here, especially during the winter, Hossain said.

“I want to tell them you are very young, you should be very careful when you’re driving at night. It’s not the same road conditions in Bangladesh,” she said.

Last winter, a crash on Ontario’s Highway 401 between a car and a tractor-trailer killed five students from India.

Harpreet Singh, Jaspinder Singh, Karanpal Singh, Mohit Chouhan and Pawan Kumar, who were between the ages of 21 and 24, were pronounced dead at the scene. Police have said they all studied in the Montreal or Greater Toronto areas.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2023.

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