Twins identified in after-hours toboggan incident at Calgary bobsled park
CALGARY- The two 17-year-old boys who were killed in an incident at Canada Olympic Park early Saturday morning have been identified as twins Jordan and Evan Caldwell.
A statement was issued from their family on Saturday night:
“We were reminded today that life is but a vapor. Life is precious, life is fragile, and we must redeem the time we’re given,” the statement on behalf of Jason, Shauna and Katie Caldwell said.
“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.
“They leave a huge void and will be sorely missed.”
The two brothers were pronounced dead at the scene and six others were rushed to hospital in the early hours of Saturday morning after trying to toboggan down the bobsled track at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
“Today is the most tragic day in WinSport’s history,” president and CEO Barry Heck said at an evening press conference. “As a father, first and foremost, my heart goes out to the families.”
One teen was in hospital in critical condition as of Saturday afternoon, police said. Five others were in stable, non-life-threatening condition. EMS said earlier three of the injured were sent to hospital with serious soft tissue injuries and the remainder received minor bumps and bruises.
“At least eight teenagers, all males, entered the property after hours, and used a personal sled, toboggan, in an attempt to go down the bobsled track,” Calgary Police Duty Staff Sgt. Paul Wyatt said.
“Partway down, the group hit a large gate used to separate the bobsled and luge tracks.”
WATCH: EMS reported 2 dead, 6 injured on scene at bobsled incident
Police said they planned to release the names of the teens who died Sunday.
Heck could not confirm reports that any of the teens involved were staff or former staff at COP. He said he wasn’t aware of any other break-ins to the athletic and ice complex area.
“I’ve heard of incidents of people coming into the park,” Heck said. “I do not know of any incidents of anyone being on the sliding track.”
WinSport has 10 full-time security personnel, including two staff members when the park is closed at night. Heck said under normal circumstances, the bobsled track is very safe.
“When the track is in operation under our control, there’s a whole set of safety procedures that are in place. There are cameras, people that monitor the track to make sure it’s clear—so it’s an extremely safe environment in an otherwise high-risk, high-speed type of sport.”
Watch below: A 2015 video gives a sense of the speed reached down the Olympic bobsleigh track at COP
WinSport Canada owns and operates Canada Olympic Park, which hosted events during the 1988 Winter Olympics. Several World Cup events are also held at the site.
WinSport said all ski programs and lessons will continue as scheduled, but West Terrain park and Superpipe would be closed until further notice.
WinSport’s public bobsled is a popular activity with local Calgarians, with rules clearly outlined on the facility’s website. You must be over the age of 16 and weigh between 75 and 250 pounds and fill out a waiver before riding. Anyone under the age of 18 is required to have a parent or legal guardian sign on their behalf.
“Persons with neck, back, heart or kidney conditions should not participate,” the site reads. “Anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not permitted to participate.”
Watch below: Two teens dead after incident at Canada Olympic Park’s bobsled track. Lisa MacGregor reports.
WinSport’s page says the bobsled driver is a trained professional, and the sled accommodates three guests along with the driver. People on the bobsled are also required to wear certified helmets, provided by WinSport before the runs.
Along with conducting its own investigation, WinSport Canada is co-operating with the police investigation, including supplying any CCTV footage that may help with determining how and why this happened.
Canada’s only other full bobsled track is in Whistler and was also built for the Winter Olympics.
“It’s a tragic accident. Our thoughts are with them,” Roger Soane, president of Whistler Sports Legacies, which operates the track, said. He said with a mile-long track, it’s impossible to secure it 100 per cent after hours.
“We do our best with gates, signage and barriers,” he said, “[but] as much as we are a private facility, it is accessible. We have had times when people have been on site.”
With files from Global’s Lisa MacGregor, Justin McElroy, Stefan Keyes, Tracy Nagai, Jodi Hughes and a file from The Canadian Press
© 2016 Shaw Media