Many in Saskatchewan woke up Saturday to learn 14 people had died in a collision Friday between a semi-trailer and the Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus.
The crash happened Friday afternoon on Highway 35, about 30 kilometres north of Tisdale, at the junction of Highway 335. The Broncos were headed to a playoff game in Nipawin at the time.
RCMP issued a release Saturday morning saying 29 people were on board the bus, a revised figure from initial reports indicating 28 people had been aboard. Along with the 14 people reported killed, 15 people were taken to hospital.
Police said they would not identify any of the dead until families had been notified. There was also no word on the condition of the truck driver.
Community members gather at arena
As news of the tragedy broke Friday night, people gathered at the Edgar Peterson Arena in Humboldt.
Daigon Elmy played Midget AA hockey with several of the Broncos players on the bus.
“We were a family. You come to the rink and hang out with the guys, what’s better than that?”
He arrived at the arena still shocked after learning of the crash while on his way home from Saskatoon.
“Honestly, I’m not really feeling anything right now. I cried for hours. Didn’t feel anything, then cried for hours. Just trying to keep water in me. It’s not easy,” he said.
You can hear and see the agony on people’s faces. Several people cried out. “He’s gone” said one man in a Broncos jersey. It’s absolutely heart breaking pic.twitter.com/Ziwq2LQvmW
— Brent Bosker (@brentbosker) April 7, 2018
Humboldt mayor Robert Muench delivered a message of hope to those waiting to hear news of friends, loved ones and beloved athletes injured or lost in the crash.
“We’re a pretty resilient community. And you know that Saskatchewan resilience, I think, is going to pull us through this. We’ll get through it together with help from each other,” he said.
Muench said the arena would remain open for anyone who needs it.
A vigil was planned at the arena for 7 p.m. Sunday — when the team was originally scheduled to play its next game.
A GoFundMe page was set up to raise money for affected families in the wake of the crash.
Witness waits on word about young man he helped at scene
Mark Antonichuk said he was driving back to his home in Moose Jaw Friday when he passed the crash scene.
“I couldn’t live with myself if I drove past without helping.”
He said he went to work trying to help the injured shortly after getting out of his vehicle.
“I was actually holding one fellow’s neck so that he wouldn’t get himself injured any worse. I did end up getting his information and handing it to one of the police officers on scene.”
Antonichuk said he plans to call the young man’s family in a few days to check on his condition.
“My heart goes out to every single family that’s involved in that,” he said.
—With files from Brent Bosker