‘We’ve lost something very special’: friend of students killed in Manitoba crash

The three men who were killed in a head-on collision near Arborg on Thursday morning were University of Manitoba students and members of Winnipeg’s Bangladeshi community, according to a friend of the victims.

Aranoor Azad Chowdhury, Risul Badhon and Al Numan Aditta, all 23, were killed on Highway 7 just south of Arborg around 6:20 a.m. in a crash that also sent a 53-year-old woman to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Read more: Highway 7 crash kills 3 near Arborg, Man., RCMP investigating

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Fardeen Zareef, a friend of the victims, described them as “three of the purest souls I had the pleasure of calling my friend” and said they’ll be remembered as “the kindest and best people.”

Zareef said Chowdhury, Badhon and Aditta — who were roommates — had headed north of Winnipeg with a group of friends in four vehicles for an opportunity to glimpse the northern lights.

Their loss, he said, will be felt strongly in the city’s Bangladeshi community.

“It’s hard… especially in Manitoba, which is 10,000 kilometres away from our home, we are each other’s families.

“We’re there for each other. Even in this crisis yesterday, you could see the amount of outreach and support going on throughout our community.

“This is a loss we all felt. We all knew them. They were prominent faces in our community… We’ve lost something very special.”

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Zareef said he has taken in the three men’s fourth roommate, who missed the trip to see the aurorae due to schoolwork.

“The four of them used to live together and now it’s just him alone. He’s living with us now, but it’s very traumatizing and not something you’d want to experience on the worst day of your life.”

RCMP said Thursday that the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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