Cause of Humboldt Broncos bus crash remains unknown
RCMP are still investigating the reason why a semi-truck and the Humboldt Broncos team bus collided Friday, killing 15 people and injuring over a dozen more.
The victims include Broncos captain Logan Schatz along with nine other players, coaches Darcy Haugun and Mark Cross, the team’s statistician and radio play-by-play announcer and the driver of the bus.
Officers said the collision happened about 30 kilometres north of Tisdale, near the junction of Highway 335 at around 5 p.m. Friday.
Saskatchewan RCMP Asst. Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said Saturday that the driver of the semi was not hurt and was briefly detained after the crash early Friday evening.
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Aerial footage showed the bus on its side, its roof peeled back and its front end destroyed.
The trailer of the truck lay nearby in a shattered mess, with bags of its peat moss cargo scattered all around. The tractor part of the truck was intact, lying on its passenger side.
The tractor-trailer would have had to yield to a stop sign before crossing over the highway that the hockey bus was travelling on. There is a stand of trees on the southeast corner of the intersection, limiting visibility of the approach on both roads.
Zablocki said a lot of issues have to be investigated, including weather conditions at the time and any mechanical issues with the vehicles.
“Due to the large amount of evidence, information and the number of victims, this work will take some time,” he said.
“It’s too early to comment on the cause of the collision. We will continue to update.”
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Tributes from across the country poured in over the weekend including from the major cities.
The hockey community also honoured the team; during the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks game, players wore the word Broncos on their jerseys instead of their name.
In addition, members of the Humboldt community brought flowers and tributes to the Elgar Peterson Arena. A crisis and counselling centre is set up in the adjacent convention centre in town.
A vigil run by community and clergy members will also take place at 7:00 p.m. MT Sunday.
Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League president Bill Chow broke down in tears as he called the crash “the worst nightmare that could happen.”
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The team was headed to Nipawin to play a semi-final game against the Hawks. Chow said it’s too early to comment on what the SJHL will do to proceed with playoffs.
“We will have conversations as to what the Humboldt Broncos want to do,” Chow said.
“We will then have discussions with our governors of the league and whatever decision we make, we’re going to do what we think is in the best interests of the league.”
The survivors of the crash were taken to hospital Saskatoon, where one emergency room doctor said it was the “most tragic night of [his] career.”
The father of Derek Patter, one of the surviving members of the team, posted a tweet of three Humboldt Broncos players recovering in hospital.
-With files from Dave Giles and the Canadian Press
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