Mother, wife, children of B.C. bus crash victim travel from India to attend funeral

Navjeet Kaur Sodhi, the wife of of Karanjot Singh Sodhi, who died in a bus crash east of Merritt B.C. on Christmas Eve, attends his funeral with their two children and his mother in Delta on Saturday. (Sohrab Sandhu/CBC - image credit)
Navjeet Kaur Sodhi, the wife of of Karanjot Singh Sodhi, who died in a bus crash east of Merritt B.C. on Christmas Eve, attends his funeral with their two children and his mother in Delta on Saturday. (Sohrab Sandhu/CBC - image credit)

The immediate family of 41-year-old Karanjot Singh Sodhi was in Delta, B.C., on Saturday for his funeral following a fatal Christmas Eve bus crash east of Merritt, B.C.

His mother, wife and two young children travelled from India to attend the tearful memorial, arriving in Canada on Wednesday, the 11th anniversary of his marriage to Navjeet Kaur Sodhi.

"How can they handle this?" Kalwinder Singh, Sodhi's cousin, said at the funeral, which was held at the Riverside Funeral Home, with a prayer service following at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey.

Navjeet Kaur Sodhi did not speak with CBC News. She sat at the funeral grim-faced and crying as she held her two children, a seven-year-old boy and three-year-old girl.

Earlier in the week she gave an emotional sit-down interview to Omni News in Punjabi.

Karanjot Singh Sodhi was one of four people who died after a passenger bus crashed on Highway 97C, also called the Okanagan Connector.

The bus, travelling from Kelowna to Vancouver, went off the road and rolled near the Loon Lake exit about 330 kilometres east of Vancouver in the Southern Interior.

Dozens of people were sent to hospital due to the crash.

Sodhi, who was from the city of Amritsar in Punjab, India, came to Canada in the fall of 2022 after spending time in Australia.

Kulwinder Bans
Kulwinder Bans

Another of his cousins, Sanjit Singh, said at the memorial that Sodhi had big hopes for his life and his family.

"Life is full of dreams. He had so many dreams," said Singh.

Sodhi had been working at a winery in Oliver, B.C., and his work colleagues, who drove to Delta on Saturday to attend his funeral, said he was always upbeat, smiling and radiating positive energy.

Haward Collince Michael Samy said when Sodhi arrived in Oliver, he marvelled at being able to see and touch snow.

Sohrab Sandhu/CBC
Sohrab Sandhu/CBC

Financial difficulties for family

His cousin Kalwinder Singh said Sodhi was the sole wage-earner for his family, and his death leaves them in financial difficulty.

"The wife and kids now face a big problem," he said. "They did not know how to handle the situation."

Friends and family have been raising money for the family, and there is hope an insurance claim and potentially court action involving the bus company — Alberta-based Ebus — will help compensate them financially for the loss of Sodhi.

Police suspect icy roads were the cause of the crash and continue to investigate.