A Quebec City man living a dream by taking a six-month working holiday was among three Canadians killed in a horrific bus crash in northern Mexico while his wife was among four Canadians hurt, a relative and long-time colleague said Tuesday.
Robert Lacas, 56, and his wife Line Carrier, 55, were aboard a tour bus that slammed into a tractor-trailer on Monday in northern Mexico, family and friends confirmed.
''They were a couple that loved each other and still had a sparkle in their eyes when they looked at each other,'' Carrier's son, Christian Poulin, said.
''They raised their family, worked hard and were thinking about themselves - and it was time to do that - and sadly misfortune has befallen them.''
Poulin said no one at the Mexican hospital where Carrier was being treated speaks English or French and relatives were working on getting a translator for her.
He said he spoke briefly to his mother on Monday but she was not able to tell him what had happened.
The Canadian Press confirmed the identity of another Canadian passenger who was killed, but agreed to withhold the name because not all of the family members had been notified.
''There are still some very immediate close family members that we're trying to get in touch with,'' a relative said.
''We don't know very much at this point.''
A woman from Vancouver was also reported killed, while a couple from Ontario was listed among the injured.
In all, it's believed at least 11 people died in the crash, including eight Americans, most of them from Texas.
The Canadians were injured when a tractor-trailer slammed into their tour bus, which was also carrying a group of Americans, family, officials and Mexican news reports said Tuesday.
Twenty-six people were aboard the bus, which was en route to Zacatecas when it crashed about 50 kilometres from Saltillo, Coahuila, in northern Mexico.
Coahuila state police said the driver appears to have nodded off and lost control of his truck. He was unable to swerve out of the way of the bus in time to avoid the crash.
The bus was carrying a group of retirees, many from the Texas town of McAllen, said Coahuila state police commander Armando Santana.
Officials with the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa confirmed that Canadian citizens were involved in the incident, but refused to provide any additional details.
Liz Detter, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, said ''our heartfelt condolences go out to all those killed and injured in this tragedy.''
Lacas and Carrier left home in October on their adventure. The couple had left their vehicle in a campground in McAllen and boarded a bus for a whirlwind bus trip in northeastern Mexico on Monday, Poulin said.
Jean-Luc Morin, who worked with Lacas for 14 years and called him his mentor, said Lacas wanted to take semi-retirement.
''They bought a recreational vehicle together last year and they wanted to take a trip to the southern United States - Louisiana, New Orleans, Florida, Texas, Gulf of Mexico - they wanted to do it in a six months.''
The couple, who had been together about 20 years, was due back in Quebec at the end of April as Lacas was expected to speak at a conference, he said.