Brandon woman in coma after couple injured in car crash in Colombia

Brandon woman in coma after couple injured in car crash in Colombia

A Brandon, Man., woman is in a Colombian hospital with serious injuries after she and eight other people were involved in a car crash in the South American country last weekend.

Hollman Florez Gamez says his mother, Rosa Gamez, and father, Hector Jaime, were visiting family in Colombia over the holidays. 

Gamez said he and his three sisters, who live in Brandon, were told their parents were riding in a vehicle last Sunday near the rural community of Aranzazu when it suffered a mechanical issue, slid down a hill, hit a fence and rolled.

"My first thought was we've got to travel over there to see what's happening," he told CBC News on Friday. "We started praying." 

Gamez said his dad suffered several cuts to his face, an ankle injury and two broken teeth in the crash. His mom has a broken pelvis, a hand injury and internal abdominal injuries. 

She was rushed to hospital and has had two surgeries, and is now in an induced coma, Gamez said. 

"He tries to stay strong," Gamez said of his father. "He says he doesn't like to think about it because all of the images and everything comes into mind." 

According to a Colombian media report, the vehicle rolled about 100 metres. One person died in the crash, the report said. 

Siblings saved money for parents' trip 

Gamez said he and his sisters saved up last year and paid for their parents to go to their home country for the holidays.

His father, who has lived in Canada for about 10 years, works at the Maple Leaf Foods plant in Brandon. Gamez, his mother and his siblings moved to the southwestern Manitoba city eight years ago. 

Gamez, a full-time student at Brandon University, said he and his siblings are now saving up so they can travel to Colombia to be with their parents.

"We told my dad that we're going to stick together," he said. "We're going to continue with school and hopefully travel on the reading week."

His mom, he said, could be in the hospital recovering for another three months. 

"We obviously want to see her," Gamez said, adding that he and his three siblings also have to try and keep up with the family's mortgage and other bills while his dad is off work. 

"We try to tell him that everything's under control so they don't get anything else on their minds."

Global Affairs aware of crash 

A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told CBC News that the agency is aware of the situation and are in touch with local authorities to gather more information.

Consular officials are ready to assist the family, the spokesperson said. 

Gamez said his parents were insured, but the medical bills will exceed their coverage. The family has started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover their bills. 

"So many people have been talking to us, telling us that anything that we need, they're there for us," Gamez said. "We can't thank them enough for all of the support, the prayers — not [just] the donations, but the moral support."