EDMONTON – Several members of the Lakewood Midget AA hockey team are in hospital after their bus, which was taking them to a game, rolled on Highway 16, about 20 minutes east of Hinton early Sunday afternoon.
RCMP say the charter bus was traveling west bound on Highway 16, when it lost control, skidding into the south median ditch, and rolling once before landing upside down in the east bound lanes.
STARS Air Ambulance was initially called out, but was later stood down. Kerry Williamson with AHS tells Global News that ground ambulances ended up rushing six of the 30 people on board to the Hinton hospital.
He says two of those patients were in critical condition, two had serious injuries, and the other two were in stable condition.
19 others were transported by bus to hospital as a precautionary measure. After being checked out, they were taken to the Hinton Recreation Centre for a hot meal and will be put up in a hotel overnight.
While the investigation into the crash is still ongoing, RCMP believe very poor weather and road conditions contributed to the crash and are asking people not to drive unless absolutely necessary.
Ken Arndt, the director of the team, says he thinks the bus driver was trying to drive according to the conditions.
“I spoke to the manager of the team and the bus was moving at a relatively slow speed, in fact, he had spoken to the bus driver just prior to the accident happening and confirmed to the bus driver to make sure he drove safe, and the bus driver confirmed back that he was,” says Arndt.
This is the second accident in two weeks to strike Edmonton’s South Side Athletic Club. Two weeks ago, Kyle Fundytus, a player with another team that belongs to the same organization, was killed when he was hit by a puck in the neck during a game.
Arndt says his team is still recovering from that tragedy.
“I think everyone’s in shock. It’s a very difficult time. They’re just getting over, well not getting over, they’ll never get over what happened previously, but trying to get things back in order, and then something like this happens. So it’ll be a very difficult time going forward.”
Fundytus played for the Don Wheaton Midget AA team. In a sad irony, these two teams were scheduled to play Monday night in Edmonton. That would have been the first game for the Don Wheaton team since the tragic accident that claimed Kyle’s life. That game for Monday night has now been cancelled.
Global Edmonton has a crew en route to Hinton…we’ll have more information as it becomes available. and are asking people not to drive unless absolutely necessary.