fbpx
News

15 Die In Junior Hockey Team Bus Crash [Video]

A semi-trailer slammed into a bus carrying a youth hockey team in western Canada, killing 15 people and injuring 14 in a catastrophic collision that left a country and its national sport heartbroken. The crash sent shockwaves through the team’s small hometown.

Canadians were moved to tears on as they learned of the identities of the deceased on the bus that was driving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team to a crucial playoff game Friday against the Nipawin Hawks.

“The worst nightmare has happened,” said the league’s president, Bill Chow, as his eyes welled up with tears.

The Broncos are a close-knit team from the small city of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, which has a population of about 6,000. Since the horrific accident many have gathered at the community center at the hockey arena. A vigil is scheduled for Sunday night.

“An entire country is in shock and mourning,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “This is every parent’s worst nightmare. No one should ever have to see their child leave to play the sport they love and never come back.”

The bus had 29 passengers, including the driver, when it crashed at about 5 p.m. on Highway 35, police said. Among the dead are Broncos head coach Darcy Haugan, team captain Logan Schatz and radio announcer Tyler Bieber. Authorities earlier said three were in critical condition but later provided an update to say that 15 have now died.

Canadian police said the truck driver was initially detained but has since been released and provided with mental health assistance. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said it’s too early to state a cause for the crash.

In a tweet, President Donald Trump said he called Trudeau to offer his condolences to the families of victims.

Darren Opp, president of the Nipawin Hawks, said a semi T-boned the players’ bus — an account police confirmed.

“It’s a horrible accident, my God,” Opp said.

Hassan Masri, an emergency room doctor at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital who has done work in war-torn Syria, said the crash reminded him of an airstrike.

Photographs of the wreckage showed the twisted trailer with most of its wheels in the air and the bus on its side and its back portion destroyed. The force of the crash sent both vehicles into the ditch at the northwest corner of the intersection.

Aerial footage showed the bus on its side, its roof peeled back and its front end destroyed. The trailer of the truck lay nearby in a shattered mess, with bags of its peat moss cargo scattered all around. The tractor part of the truck was intact, lying on its passenger side.

The tractor-trailer would have had to yield to a stop sign before crossing over the highway that the hockey bus was travelling on. There is a stand of trees on the southeast corner of the intersection, limiting visibility of the approach on both roads.

Police said a lot of issues have to be investigated, including weather conditions at the time and any mechanical issues with the vehicles.

The tragedy brought to mind an accident in 1986, when the Swift Current Broncos team bus slid off an icy highway and crashed in late December, killing four players.

The Humboldt Broncos are a close-knit team from the small city of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, which has a population of about 6,000. Many gathered at the community center at the hockey arena there after word of the horrific crash began to circulate.

Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench, wearing a green and yellow Broncos team jersey, hugged people Saturday morning as they came to the Elger Petersen Arena in the Saskatchewan town to comfort each other and learn more.

“It’s overwhelming. It’s been tough on everybody,” Muench said in a phone interview. “We’re a small community; some of those kids have been on the team for a number of years. A lot grew up in the community and everybody knows each other.”

The team was on its way to play in Game 5 of a semi-final against the Nipawin Hawks.

Multiple crisis workers were assisting relatives and friends.

“Everybody is just so devastated. These poor young boys,” said Penny Lee, the communications manager for the town of Humboldt.

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League is a junior ‘A’ hockey league under Hockey Canada, which is part of the Canadian Junior Hockey League. It’s open to North American-born players between the ages of 16 and 20.

Team President Kevin Garinger said parents from across western Canada were struggling to cope with the tragedy and were rushing to the scene.

“We are heartbroken and completely devastated,” Garinger said. “We will never forget the members of our Broncos family who were taken from us and who were injured.”

Michelle Straschnitzki, who lives in Airdrie, Alberta, said her 18-year old son Ryan was transported to a hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

“We talked to him, but he said he couldn’t feel his lower extremities so I don’t know what’s going on,” she said. “I am freaking out. I am so sad for all of the teammates and I am losing my mind.”

Kevin Henry, a coach who runs a hockey school in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, said he knows players on the team.

“This is I would think one of the darkest days in the history of Saskatchewan, especially because hockey is so ingrained in how we grow up here,” he said.

The hockey world issued messages of condolences, including Saskatchewan native Mike Babcock, who is the Toronto Maple Leafs coach.

Babcock, fighting back tears, said that “it’s got to rip the heart out of your chest.”

The Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets wore the name “BRONCOS” instead of their nameplates on Saturday night.

This story originally appeared in Associated Press.

Join The Discussion

Six Dead And Dozens Hurt In Nightclub Stampede In Italy
Six Dead And Dozens Hurt In Nightclub Stampede In Italy [Video]
Paris On Lockdown Ahead Of Planned Protests
Paris On Lockdown Ahead Of Planned Protests [Video]
Luxembourg To Become First Country To Make Public Transport Free
Luxembourg To Become First Country To Make Public Transport Free
US Mourns George HW Bush As Trump Gives Cold Shoulder To Clintons
US Mourns George HW Bush As Trump Gives Cold Shoulder To Clintons [Video]
Worldwide Adoption Keeps Growing, 1,500 Restaurants In Denmark Accept Bitcoin
Worldwide Adoption Keeps Growing, 1,500 Restaurants In Denmark Accept Bitcoin
Half The Crypto Market Eliminated In Less Than A Mont
Half The Crypto Market Eliminated In Less Than A Mont
Singapore Residents Targeted In Crypto Scams, $78,000 Lost
Singapore Residents Targeted In Crypto Scams, $78,000 Lost
Brazilian Mining Company Under Investigation, Says It Can’t Pay Investors
Brazilian Mining Company Under Investigation, Says It Can’t Pay Investors
Visual Trends To Be Aware Of In 2019
Visual Trends To Be Aware Of In 2019 [Infographic]
How To Get Sponsored Posts For Your Blog
How To Get Sponsored Posts For Your Blog
The Advantages YouTube Ads Have Over Facebook Ads
The Advantages YouTube Ads Have Over Facebook Ads [Video]
7 Tools Will Help You Kick Butt In 2019
7 Tools Will Help You Kick Butt In 2019 [Video]
Instagram's Testing Side-Scrolling Feed View, Similar To Stories
Instagram’s Testing Side-Scrolling Feed View, Similar To Stories
The 10 Best Instagram Tools For 2019
The 10 Best Instagram Tools For 2019
Pinterest's Recommendation Algorithms Are Improving
Pinterest’s Recommendation Algorithms Are Improving
YouTube Launches YouTube Stories, Prominent Creators Only
YouTube Launches YouTube Stories, Prominent Creators Only [Video]
Wish You Were Smarter
Wish You Were Smarter? These 4 Brain Hacks Can Help You Get There
Weightlifting Less Than An Hour Per Week Could Increase Your Longevity
Weightlifting Less Than An Hour Per Week Could Increase Your Longevity
Your Environment May Affect Your Eyes More Than You Realize
Your Environment May Affect Your Eyes More Than You Realize
Why Hotels Want You To Stop Instagramming Your Vacation
Why Hotels Want You To Stop Instagramming Your Vacation
Six Dead And Dozens Hurt In Nightclub Stampede In Italy
Six Dead And Dozens Hurt In Nightclub Stampede In Italy [Video]
Paris On Lockdown Ahead Of Planned Protests
Paris On Lockdown Ahead Of Planned Protests [Video]
The Advantages YouTube Ads Have Over Facebook Ads
The Advantages YouTube Ads Have Over Facebook Ads [Video]
7 Tools Will Help You Kick Butt In 2019
7 Tools Will Help You Kick Butt In 2019 [Video]