At least fifteen killed as truck plows into bus carrying Canadian hockey team
iStock/Thinkstock(NIPAWIN, Canada) — At least fifteen people are dead and another 14 are injured after a bus carrying a Canadian hockey team was involved in a crash late Friday in Saskatchewan.
Nipawin Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed the accident and said 29 people were on the bus, which was carrying a youth hockey team called the Humboldt Broncos. At least two of the injuries were considered critical, the RCMP said.
“We are not confirming the identity of the victims at this time, including whether the deceased are players or coaches,” Nipawin RCMP said in a statement. “We will be working with our partner agencies to ensure families are notified as soon as possible and the appropriate supports are provided to families and others who are impacted by this extremely tragic incident.”
According to CTV, the bus was T-boned by a tractor trailer traveling westbound on Highway 35. The bus, which was going north, was ferrying the team to a game in Nipawin at the time of the accident.
“Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the families of our staff and athletes as well as to all who have been impacted by this horrible tragedy,” Broncos President Kevin Garinger said. “Our Broncos family is in shock as we try to come to grips with our incredible loss.”
Granger added, “While we try and move forward as an organization and community, we will never forget April 6, 2018, and we will never forget the members of our Broncos family who were taken from us and who were injured.”
Nipawin, Saskatchewan, is about three hours northeast of Saskatoon, the Canadian province’s most populous city.
“Words can not describe the loss that we feel tonight,” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said on Facebook. “The news I have heard is difficult to comprehend.
“Tonight, we all must pray for these families.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also sent his condolences on Twitter to the families of those killed and injured in the accident.
President Trump also tweeted his condolences.
“Just spoke to @JustinTrudeau to pay my highest respect and condolences to the families of the terrible Humboldt Team tragedy. May God be with them all!” the president tweeted.
The mayor of Humboldt, Rob Muench, said he spoke to Trudeau, who relayed condolences from other world leaders.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, who was not identified, was initially detained but has since been released, according to the authorities. The driver and a passenger were not injured.
The cause of the accident was still under investigation.
The Broncos play in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, an under-20 youth league that regularly produces NHL players. Rod Brind’Amour, Curtis Joseph, Ron Hextall and Chris Chelios are among the former NHL stars who played in the SJHL. Bill McDougall, who played three seasons in the NHL and set records in the AHL, is an alumnus of the Humboldt Broncos.
Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets and the Chicago Blackhawks planned a moment of silence for Saturday night’s game to honor the victims. Both teams will wear the word “Broncos” and the backs of the jerseys during the game.
The Jets tweeted support for the Broncos, with the hashtag, “PrayersForHumboldt.”
“Tonight we wear “Broncos” on the back of our jerseys, symbolizing the unity and support of our hockey communities coming together as one for the Humboldt Broncos’ family,” the tweet read.
The proceeds of the game’s 50/50 draw will be donated to the Broncos. Also, the Jets, Blackhawks and the NHL will each donate $25,000 to the total.
Bill Chow, the president of the league, said it hasn’t been determined if the rest of the season will continue. He added that he’ll confer with the governors of the league and do whatever is in the best interest of the everyone involved.
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