Edmonton-area family on missionary trip killed in Swaziland car crash

EDMONTON — An Edmonton-area family has been killed in a car crash in southern Africa.

An unnamed friend told CTV Edmonton that Melissa and Brendan Perrott and their two children, Evelyn and Colton, died Sunday near Bulembu, Swaziland.

A local newspaper says five others also died in the crash.

The friend says the Perrotts, from Sherwood Park, Alta., were volunteering with Bulembu Ministries.

The non-profit group could not immediately be reached for comment, but its website says it provides care for 350 orphans and vulnerable children in Swaziland.

Global Affairs Canada says it’s aware of the crash.

“Our deepest thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of the Canadian citizens who died in a tragic accident in South Africa,” said an email from spokeswoman Barbara Harvey.

She says consular officials are in contact with relatives in Canada and are providing assistance.

They are also in contact with local authorities to gather additional information.

Rod Rypstra, Melissa’s father, said the family was returning to Bulembu after taking an orphan to a mountain bike race.

“From what we understand there was a vehicle trying to overtake another one on the highway at a high rate of speed, and when he went to go back into his lane, he clipped the vehicle in front of him, which spun his vehicle around, which in turn crashed into Brendan and Melissa travelling the other way,” said Rypstra.

The vehicles were “unrecognizable” and it was reported that all nine people involved died on impact.

“There’s a huge hole in Bulembu now that they’re gone, and a huge hole in all of our lives,” said Rypstra.

“They were dearly loved of course by all of us, but we’re going to carry on the legacy of Bulembu with Brendan and Melissa and Evelyn and Colton because we know that this is what they would want.”

The family had been working with a local orphanage and had been in the country nearly two years.

Recently they arranged to have a truck full of supplies like clothing, school equipment, instruments and tools over for underprivileged Bulembu residents.

“When they got involved in Bulembu … they fell in love with the children there and the community there,” said Dave Perrott, Brendan’s father.

“We can’t begin to tell you how proud we are of them as people and what they’ve done. They forged communities here and in Bulembu. They drew people together and their passion and love was profound,” he said.

The Great Commission Foundation has a GoFundMe account set up in the family’s name to go to Bulembu Ministries. (CTV Edmonton, The Canadian Press)

This report by The Canadian Press was originally published on Nov. 5, 2019.

The Canadian Press

Missionary car crash

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Red Deer down to six active COVID-19 cases

Alberta Health Services’ central zone is down to 16

Red Deer drum circle aims to ‘bring different cultures together’

Central Alberta Refugee Effort, Urban Aboriginal Voices Society hosted the event Friday

Students reassured pandemic’s academic impact will be taken into account

Some Grade 12 students concerned how pandemic will affect their post-secondary plans

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

8 charged, $260K in drugs and cash seized in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Millet Agriplex to become a hub for indoor soccer

Wetaskiwin Soccer Club will be operating out of the Millet Agriplex this season.

RCMP’s poor response at anti-racism rally makes city look bad

“Tough questions need to be asked and there must be consequences.”

‘We’re losing what makes the Parkland so distinctive,” conservation specialist says

The Lacombe district will lose two sites with provincial park status: JJ Collett and the Narrows

Sylvan Lake woman says Town’s response time to concerns isn’t enough

Glenda Jackman says it took almost a month for the Town to act on her complaint about a playground

Let’s hope this childcare plan enjoys a speedy, safe delivery

The persuading has been done. Now, the hard work begins

Ermineskin Kindergarten has a confirmed case of COVID-19

The school has shut down and Cohort 2 is in self-isolation

Opinion: Sorry, but there’s no reason not to extend Molly Banister Drive

It has been called an environmentally sensitive area. It’s not.

Most Read