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Prime minister says accident "unthinkable" in letter to high school in mourning

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the deaths of seven high school basketball players and their chaperone in a traffic accident in northern New Brunswick is "unthinkable."

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the deaths of seven high school basketball players and their chaperone in a traffic accident in northern New Brunswick is "unthinkable."

Harper sent the letter to Bathurst High School principal Coleen Ramsay after the accident early Saturday.

The prime minister says the accident "shocked the nation."

"Despite the devastation that this tragedy has caused, I know that your close-knit community will come together at this time to help the families and friends of the victims and survivors recover from this loss," he wrote. "Please know that my thoughts and prayers, and those of people across Canada, will be with you through this sad and difficult time."

He said as a father, his grief goes out to the parents of the teenaged boys who were killed.

The van the boys were travelling in fish-tailed on a slippery highway in northern New Brunswick and slammed into a truck.

The boys were returning from a game in Moncton, about 220 kilometres away, when the accident occurred just outside Bathurst shortly after midnight.

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Here is the text of a letter sent on Saturday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Coleen Ramsay, principal of Bathurst High School.

Dear Ms. Ramsay:

I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the students and staff of Bathurst High School on the loss of seven young members of your school's basketball team and their chaperone in a tragic vehicle collision.

The sudden loss of eight people in this unthinkable accident shocked the nation and all Canadians join you in mourning their passing. As a father, I particularly grieve with the parents who have lost their children. The seven promising young students will be missed dearly by their loved ones, fellow students, and the wider community of Bathurst.

Despite the devastation that this tragedy has caused, I know that your close-knit community will come together at this time to help the families and friends of the victims and survivors recover from this loss. Please know that my thoughts and prayers, and those of people across Canada, will be with you through this sad and difficult time.

Sincerely,

The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper

Prime Minister of Canada

 
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