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Partner of woman killed at construction site says life was like a 'romantic movie' before tragedy struck

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The partner of a woman killed on a Vancouver construction site this week also worked at the massive project, but had left for the day before a large wooden form fell from a crane.

As it hit the building and broke apart, a piece hit and killed 41-year-old Yuridia Flores, who worked as a general labourer at the site.

After a co-worker called to tell him what happened, Daniel Garcia Hernandez raced back to work at the Oakridge Park development, but he wasn’t able to see his common-law wife’s body.

"I could have just held her and kissed her and said a goodbye like she deserved,” Hernandez said in an interview with CTV News.

The pair grew up as neighbours in Acapulco, Mexico, and Hernandez recalls an occasionally flirtatious friendship – which flourished into a long distance romance after he moved to Canada.

About six years ago, Flores also immigrated and joined Hernandez in Surrey.

He says from that point on, their life felt like a “romantic movie.”

“It felt that way until now. And now this became our reality, right?” he said. “This, we can’t change this. We can’t come back from this.”

Hernandez said breaking the news to his 16-year-old stepson was the hardest thing he has ever had to do.

The boy was at a soccer practice when Hernandez arrived and pulled him aside.

"Your mom, your mom, we can't see her anymore but she didn't suffer. She's on the other side but she didn't suffer,” he recalled telling the teenager. “She's gone, Diego. When I said the words he said, ‘Why?’ and started crying and then everybody hugged him."

Flores also had a daughter who still lives in Mexico, which is where the family plans to hold her funeral.

They have established a GoFundMe page to help cover some of their immediate needs in the wake of Flores’ tragic passing.

Hernandez says Flores was a loving mother, a woman who always strived to do the right thing and always encouraged him to be the best person he could be.

“She would try to straighten me out when I tried to take shortcuts,” he said.

WorksafeBC is leading the investigation into the crane incident that took Flores’ life, with assistance from Vancouver police and the BC Coroners Service.

Hernandez says he doesn’t have time to focus on that now because as he prepares to take the love of his life home to her final resting place, he’s wondering how he will face her mother.

He had his own parents break the tragic news to Flores’ family.

“I can’t talk to her mom because I brought her here,” he said. “How can I tell her now that I’m bringing her back – but she has no life?”

He says he will carry his grief – and the memory of Flores’ love – in his heart forever.  

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