The overturned craft and the bodies of the four canoeists were found in the water. Police said all the victims were wearing life jackets. They were all from Thompson, about 740 kilometres north of Winnipeg. Loved ones say Shane Cripps, 44, and Conor Sykes, 33, were best friends. Cripps's son Dylan, 14, and Sykes's son Liam, who was six, were with them on the excursion. James Cripps, 18, said he looked up to his father.
"It just feels like your entire world crashes down on you." —James Cripps
Shane Cripps died in a canoeing accident in Manitoba on Monday.(Photo: Shane Cripps/Facebook)
"Any time someone falls in the water, everything's OK, you're going to laugh about it after," Cripps said. "This time they weren't." The elder Cripps was a well-respected entrepreneur in northern Manitoba, who had an ecotourism lodge, restaurant and other ventures, said friend Jody Linklater. "He was very influential in starting businesses and employing lots of people from the north," he said. Linklater, who knew Cripps for 15 years, said they were working together on organizing northern Manitoba's first sanctioned mixed martial arts event in June. He said Cripps's wife, Li, has told him she wants to honour her husband's legacy by going ahead with the "Throw Down in T-town" event, but it's been postponed until the fall. Linklater said Dylan was a great kid. Linklater had played Ping-Pong with him just four days ago. He said the family was tight. "They spent a lot of time together and canoeing was one of the activities that they liked doing." Linklater said he doesn't understand how all four could have died, but he noted that ice has remained on the Burntwood River longer than usual this season and the area got some snow in the last week or so. Lindsay Catherine Rose Sykes told CBC News it was the first canoe trip of the year for her husband Conor, their son Liam and the Cripps pair.
"We were so happy. We were such a happy family." —Lindsay Catherine Rose Sykes
Conor Sykes and his son Liam were killed in a canoeing accident in Manitoba. (Photo: Lindsay Catherine Rose Sykes/Facebook)