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Quebec woman among at least 12 killed in Mexico bus crash

A woman from Gatineau, Que., was killed in a bus crash in eastern Mexico early Tuesday in which her partner and their two daughters were injured, CBC News has learned.

The woman has been identified as Stephanie Horwood, 41, who was originally from St. John’s. She lived with her family in Gatineau’s Aylmer district.

Her partner, Fred Reinthaler, who is in his​ 40s, and their two school-age daughters suffered minor injuries.

The bus was carrying cruise ship passengers to a set of Mayan ruins when it flipped on a highway, local police said.

Mexico Bus Accident

An ambulance sits parked next to an overturned bus in Mahahual, Quintana Roo state, Mexico, on Tuesday. The bus, which was carrying cruise ship passengers to the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben in eastern Mexico, flipped over on a highway early Tuesday. (Novedades de Quintana Roo via Associated Press)

‘Deepest sympathies’

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with those affected by the bus crash in Mexico,” Global Affairs Canada spokesman Philip Hannan wrote in an emailed statement Wednesday.

“We have been informed by Mexican authorities that one Canadian citizen was killed as a result of this accident. Consular officials in Ottawa and in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, are in contact with affected Canadian citizens as well as family members and are providing consular assistance as required.”

A Mexican tour guide, two Swedes and eight Americans were among the 11 others killed, according to a statement issued by Quinatana Roo’s tourism department.

Among the others injured were four Brazilians and four Americans.

Negligence and speed

Quintana Roo state prosecutors said a preliminary investigation indicated the bus driver lost control of the vehicle and that excessive speed was a factor. When the driver tried to get back onto the narrow highway, the bus flipped, struck a tree and landed in vegetation along the roadside.

“Due to a lack of care the driver lost control of the bus, steering to the right, leaving the asphalt,” state prosecutor Miguel Angel Pech Cen said at a news conference.

A state government statement early Wednesday said the driver was injured and taken into custody. But Pech Cen later said the driver was not in custody.

He said the driver was transported from the scene for medical treatment, that they knew the driver’s identity and would get a statement from him, but were not sure if he was in a hospital or still at home. Pech Cen did not elaborate on the conflicting government statements.

Mexico map


Costa Maya Mahahual, the bus company involved in the incident, said it had picked up passengers who had arrived in the coastal town of Mahahual on a cruise ship.

The crash occurred about 175 kilometres south of Tulum.

Canadian citizens seeking consular assistance should contact the Consular Agency of Canada in Playa del Carmen at 52 (984) 803-2411, or call the department’s 24/7 emergency watch and response centre at 1-613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted where available). Emails can also be sent to sos@international.gc.ca.

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