Western windfall - Metro US

Western windfall

Lotto lightning crashed down from the sky Thursday morning, struck a lucky 13 co-workers and rained $49 million upon them.

“I’m still in disbelief, actually,” 24-year-old Sara Gabriel said in an exclusive interview with Metro, her voice shaking with excitement.

An electric current flowed through city streets Thursday, when news that the winning ticket for the third largest Lotto 6-49 jackpot in Canadian history was purchased in Edmonton.

Standing outside Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission office in St. Albert Thursday morning, Gabriel confirmed she is one of 13 female human resources employees from the 13th floor of ATB Financial that are splitting the massive jackpot.

“I have no idea what I’m going to do with my money — but I do know we’re getting married,” Gabriel said, wrapping her arm around her elated fiancé, Eric Gravel.

Western Canadian Lottery Corp. spokeswoman Andrea Marantz said she could not officially confirm the identity of the winner or winners yesterday. ATB officials hinted the company would confirm rumours Friday. Reporters swarmed the downtown office building Thursday afternoon, hoping to catch a glimpse of the lucky 13, who will each walk away with roughly $3.85 million.

“I’m not the full $49 million richer,” Gabriel said with a beaming smile. “I can’t take all the glory.”

Karma has twice smiled upon Alberta sweepstakes players. A group of 17 oilfield workers from Camrose split $54.3 million in October 2005 — the largest jackpot ever awarded.

The second-biggest jackpot of $50.3 million was handed out in February to four separate winners across Canada.

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