The chaplain of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team was in tears as he recalled the horrific scene of the bus crash on Friday that killed 15 members of the team.
“We travelled up and arrived at the scene … and walked upon a scene I never want to see again,” Pastor Sean Brandow told thousands at a vigil Sunday. “To sounds I never want to hear again.”
Brandow said he received text messages about the accident before he arrived at the intersection where the bus and a tractor-trailer collided.
The crash took place as the team was heading to a semi-final game against the Nipawin Hawks
“From moment one it was chaos,” Brandow said after the vigil.
“All I could do was touch one guy getting put on a stretcher. I knew I couldn’t do anything there. I just needed to get to the hospital.”
It got worse for Brandow when he reached the hospital.
“To go to the hospital and walk around and just hear groaning and panic and fear and distress and pain and just nothing but darkness,” he told those gathered at the vigil.
“To sit and hold the hand of a lifeless body … This is the valley of darkness. All I saw was darkness and hurt and anguish and fear and confusion. And I had nothing. Nothing. I’m a pastor, I’m supposed to have something.”
He said he sat behind the bench during every game and enjoyed looking at the names on their jerseys.
“Each name [on each jersey] means family.”
Schools in the community are closed as people struggle to deal with the tragedy.
“A lot of kids come here (to the arena) idolizing the Broncos and watching them, some of these are billet parents that go downstairs to an empty basement.”
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While a lot of support is in place now, Brandow said those will disappear in a couple of weeks and that is when the need will be the greatest.
“That’s when the real hurt and heartaches for the families are the community, that’s when those voids are going to need to be filled.”
“In the long run, it’s going to be a long, long slow heal.”
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