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Two soldiers die in Manitoba SUV crash Add to ...

Two soldiers based at Canadian Forces Base Shilo in Manitoba died early Sunday after the SUV they were in went out of control in wintry driving conditions.

The RCMP is investigating whether alcohol was involved in a fatal crash involving Canadian soldiers in Brandon, Man., which is standard procedure.

"Any time there is a fatal crash, alcohol is part of the investigation," said Sergeant Line Carpish, a spokesperson with the RCMP.

"Right now I don't have any information to suggest that alcohol is a factor," she added.

The RCMP say the SUV with a total of four military personnel from the base went off a bridge about six kilometres east of Brandon and landed upside down in a creek.

Police say one of the passengers was able to get out of the vehicle and get help.

Police said weather conditions at the time of the collision were poor as the area had received heavy snow Saturday night.

Police said roads had slippery sections with some snow packed sections.

"We've had a horrible storm," Sgt. Carpish said.

"The roads were bad and bridges are notorious for being worse. The road can be perfectly fine, you hit the bridge and it is like a skating rink," she said.

Police say the 26-year-old male driver and a passenger in the front seat died at the scene.

A 27-year-old male is in critical condition with life threatening injuries while the fourth man suffered injuries described as non-life threatening.

The identities of the victims are being withheld until the families are notified.

It's not known if they were on duty at the time of the accident.

An autopsy on the two soldiers killed in the crash will be conducted Monday or Tuesday.

Also on Sunday, three people died in a single vehicle accident near the community of Hamiota, northwest of Brandon when a pickup truck with five passengers lost control and hit a tree.

Police say the 23-year-old male driver and a 35-year-old woman, both from Hamiota, were killed along with a 35-year-old man from the Rural Municipality of Woodworth.

Saskatchewan was the first province to bear the brunt of the storm, where some areas in the southeastern part of the province reported receiving up to 30 centimetres of wet snow by Saturday morning, driven by wind gusts that reached 90 km/h.

Thousands of SaskPower customers spent more than a full day without electricity after high winds broke poles, snapped lines, or felled trees on top of lines.

According to SaskPower spokesman James Parker, the storm was hampering efforts to fix the lines, and some people weren't expected to get their service back until as late as Monday morning.

"We've been hampered by the fact that Highway 1 was closed. We've been having trouble reaching areas," Parker explained on Sunday, noting that flooding in the province was compounding the problem.

"We have some poles west of Estevan that need to be fixed, but there's water everywhere."

Home and cottage owners, meanwhile, that live along the lakes along the Qu'Appelle River in Saskatchewan were faced with waves of up to three-quarters of a metre high crashing over the tops of the sandbag dikes they erected when the higher-than-normal spring runoff caused water levels to rise almost three weeks ago.

The Manitoba government said Sunday that flood protection systems remained secure across the province despite the high winds, and snow that in some higher elevations measured up to 50 cm.

Provincial flood forecasters in Manitoba said the extra snow would produce higher water flows in tributaries of the already-swollen Assiniboine and Red rivers. The forecasters said the storm was not expected to cause either river to crest higher than already predicted, but they anticipate the extra precipitation would prolong the crests.

The Canadian Press, with a report from Sonia Verma

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