14 dead in bus crash involving Saskatchewan junior hockey team
Fourteen people are dead and 14 are in hospital after a bus carrying a junior hockey team to a game in Saskatchewan collided with a transport truck on a rural highway, according to RCMP.
The crash involving the Humboldt Broncos team bus occurred on Highway 335 near Gronlid, more than 200 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, late Friday afternoon.
The bus was T-boned by a transport truck, according to the president of the Nipawin Hawks, which was scheduled to play the Broncos Friday night.
"It's a horrible accident, my God," team president Darren Opp told The Canadian Press. "There's uncles and moms and dads waiting to hear whether their sons and nephews are OK.”
"It's terrible. It's absolutely terrible."
More than 100 people, including parents and grandparents of some of the players on the bus, are gathered at a church in Nipawin, Sask. according to a local pastor.
"Lots of them are waiting for information," said Pastor Jordan Gadsby of the Apostolic Church. "Some of the families have gotten information and have gone to be with their kids. Some of them are waiting to hear if their kids are alive."
RCMP Insp. Ted Munro said “significant resources” have been deployed to the scene, and that emergency crews are still treating the injured. He would not confirm how many people were on the bus.
As for fatalities, Munro said next of kin are being notified and it would be “premature” for police to provide details of the number of deceased.
“At this time our primary focus is to treat the injured and get them to the required medical facilities,” Munro said at a press conference Friday night.
The team is part of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, which is open to players 20 years or younger.
Three air ambulance helicopters were dispatched to the scene, a spokesperson from STARS Ambulance told CTV News.
It is “rather unusual” to send three helicopters to a scene, STARS spokesperson Mark Oddan said.
“It is rather unusual but this is a very unusual case, and we really wanted to be able to help as best we could with this tragic accident,” Oddan told CTV News Channel on Friday.
Oddan could not confirm details on casualties but said each air ambulance is capable of carrying up to two patients.
The Nipawin Hawks were scheduled to play the team Friday night, but confirmed that the game has been cancelled due to the crash.
In a statement on Twitter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “I cannot imagine what these parents are going through, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy, in the Humboldt community and beyond.”
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale called the collision “truly devastating” and offered condolences to family and friends of the victims.
“First responders are on the scene doing everything possible to help. Love + prayers to all,” Goodale said on Twitter.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said he found the news “difficult to comprehend.”
“To the City of Humboldt, the entire Broncos organization, and the families impacted by this tragedy, please know you are in Saskatchewan’s hearts,” Moe said in a Facebook statement.
“From a grieving province, thank you to every one of the first responders and medical professionals for your courageous response under the most difficult circumstances imaginable.”
With files from The Canadian Press
Derek Grayson and Nick bonding and healing in hospital pic.twitter.com/DzesIoT27B— R J patter (@rjpatter) April 7, 2018
I cannot imagine what these parents are going through, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy, in the Humboldt community and beyond. https://t.co/2cIn2CTy08— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 7, 2018