Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'My Hero:' Two Fathers and Their Young Sons Die in Manitoba Canoeing Accident

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'My Hero:' Two Fathers and Their Young Sons Die in Manitoba Canoeing Accident

Article excerpt

Two men, two boys die in canoeing accident

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THOMPSON, Man. - A young man says he's devastated after his father and his dad's best friend died in a canoeing accident in northern Manitoba along with two of their sons.

James Cripps says it's surreal that his father and younger brother are gone.

"It just feels like your entire world crashes down on you," he said Tuesday.

RCMP said a search began on Monday after the four paddlers were reported overdue from a trip on the Burntwood River north of Thompson.

Police officers and firefighters launched two rescue boats and chartered a helicopter. Several boaters in the area also took part.

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.

"My dad was my hero, obviously. He's everything I aspired to be as a man when I grew up. He taught me so many lessons. He's been there for everything," he said.

"He was just an awesome, awesome guy. All families have their disagreements at times, but he never hesitated to tell me that he'd be there for me."

He said his brother Dylan was his best friend and he remembers being there to catch his little brother when he was just learning to walk. Later, they loved to play hockey together.

If ever the brothers had a big fight, everything would be fine the next day, he said.

He remembered one time when his dad fell into the water when their canoe tipped on a lake. He was able to swim back to the boat and get back in and everyone had a good laugh about it.

"Any time someone falls in the water, everything's OK, you're going to laugh about it after," Cripps said. …

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