Humboldt Broncos crash not the first deadly collision at Highway 35 and Highway 335
Fifteen members of the team were killed and more than a dozen other passengers were left injured when the crash occurred at the intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 335, about 30 kilometres north of Tisdale.
Nearby resident Barb Hildebrant described the sounds from Friday’s crash.
“We heard the bang and [my friend] looked at me and she said ‘did you hear that?’ and I said ‘yes’ and we just thought at first that it was the trains, like the cars on the track bumping.”
The RCMP has yet to state what the cause of the accident is but Global meteorologist Tiffany Lizée said that while weather conditions were ideal, the setting sun may have been a factor.
“Conditions were clear and calm but the sun was setting at the time. So at around 5 p.m., the sun would be at a 28 degree angle so a traveller heading west would be contending west with the sun and the reflection off the snow,” she explained.
The bus carrying the team was headed northbound on Highway 35 when it collided with the truck, which was headed westbound on Highway 335.
Both roads are two lane highways with posted speed limits of 100 km per hour. Highway 335 has stop signs with flashing lights.
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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.
This is not the first fatal accident to have occurred in the area – around 20 years ago, six members of one family were killed in a crash at the intersection.
White wooden crosses – three larger ones and three smaller ones – still stand near the southeast ditch near a copse of trees, only metres away from where the wreckage of the bus and the semi were left lying on their sides.
For the 1997 crash, RCMP said a half-ton pickup carrying a family ran a stop sign, and went into the path of an oncoming semi.
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Both vehicles slammed into a ditch, where the pickup burst into flames.
Hildebrant lived in the area when that crash occurred in 1997, and said she felt “sick” when she heard about Friday’s crash.
“We were just sick because we had lived through the ‘97 crash, [so] when we heard it was a bus load too, it was even more devastating,” she said.
* With files from Global News’ Ryan Kessler and the Canadian Press
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