Memorials set up for twins who died in crash on Calgary bobsled track
Emily Chan, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, February 7, 2016 7:07AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, February 7, 2016 10:45PM EST
The sports facility where twin brothers crashed and died on a bobsledding track has set up two memorials for mourners looking to pay their respects.
Jordan and Evan Caldwell, 17-year-old twins, were killed in an after-hours accident at the WinSport Canada Olympic Park in Calgary early Saturday morning.
According to police, the brothers and six other male teens gained access to the park after it had closed for the night, and attempted to slide down the bobsled track on a personal sled or toboggan.
Midway down the course they collided with a gate. Jordan and Evan were killed, and the other teens were injured.
In a statement on Saturday night, the Caldwell family expressed their grief over the sudden loss.
"Our boys Jordan and Evan were bright lights to all who knew them. We are grieving their loss but confident in their new home of heaven. Our brief 17 years with them were a gift: filled with much love, laughter, and fond memories," the statement said. "They leave a huge void and will be sorely missed."
Both boys were previously employed at the WinSport park, where they worked as "Hill Ambassadors" last winter, WinSport President and CEO Barry Heck said in a statement.
Like much of the Calgary community, Heck said WinSport employees are mourning the deaths of their former co-workers. The organization has set up two memorials where mourners can pay their respects: one at the top of the hill at the eastern edge of the start house deck, and one at the 1988 Olympic plaque at the top of the stairs from the Frank King Day Lodge parking lot to the bobsleigh track.
"I want to once again offer my thoughts and prayers to all the families involved in yesterday's tragedy," Heck said in his statement. "My heart goes out to everyone involved in this tragic event."
Following the incident, WinSport has closed the entire sliding track indefinitely and the park is also putting up extra fences.
'Outstanding young men'
Speaking with The Canadian Press, a family member described Evan and Jordan as model students who were headed for successful futures.
"They were outstanding young men. They had straight-A averages and had scholarships to several universities, and they were just really fine boys," the family member, who asked not to be identified, said.
On Sunday, both the boys' schools released statements echoing the praise.
"Jordan, a grade 12 student and our Student Council President, has been an inspiration and respected leader in our school community," a statement from Westmount Charter School's Mid-High Campus Principal Janneke Frank said.
According to the statement, Evan also attended Westmount at one point, but spent his Grade 11 and Grade 12 years at Ernest Manning High School.
On Sunday, both schools expressed their condolences and said that counselling would be available for students affected by the tragedy.
"We will provide particular attention and counseling for our senior students who were Jordan's closest friends, his peeps," Frank said.
Emergency call from the track
Investigators are piecing together exactly what happened on the night of the deadly crash.
On Saturday, paramedics said they responded to emergency calls from the track at about 1:30 a.m.
They arrived and declared the Caldwell brothers dead on the scene. The other teens were transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The other injured teens remained in hospital Sunday night, with some requiring facial reconstruction surgery.
Police said Saturday that they are reviewing CCTV footage from WinSport, and that the sports organization has been cooperative with the investigation.
Heck said his organization will also conduct its own internal review of the incident, though he said security measures at the track are already "robust."
With files from The Canadian Press