15 die when truck collides with hockey team’s bus in Canada


Associated Press

NIPAWIN, Saskatchewan

A semi-trailer slammed into a bus carrying a youth hockey team in western Canada, killing 15 people and injuring 14 in a catastrophic collision that a doctor compared to an airstrike and left the vehicles obliterated in the snow. The crash sent shockwaves of grief through the team’s small hometown and a country united by the national sport.

As details of Friday’s accident on a highway in Saskatchewan emerged, Canadians were moved to tears Saturday as they learned the identities of the deceased on a bus driving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team to a crucial playoff game.

“An entire country is in shock and mourning,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “This is every parent’s worst nightmare. No one should ever have to see their child leave to play the sport they love and never come back.”

The bus had 29 passengers, including the driver, when it crashed at about 5 p.m. on Highway 35, Canadian police said. Among the dead are Broncos head coach Darcy Haugan, team captain Logan Schatz and radio announcer Tyler Bieber. Authorities earlier said three were in critical condition but later provided an update to say that 15 had now died.

Canadian police said the truck driver was initially detained but has since been released and provided with mental-health assistance. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said it’s too early to state a cause for the crash.

In a tweet, U.S. President Donald Trump said he called Trudeau to offer his condolences to the families of victims.

Darren Opp, president of the Nipawin Hawks, who the Broncos were set to play against, said a semi T-boned the players’ bus – an account police confirmed.

“It’s a horrible accident, my God,” Opp said.

Hassan Masri, an emergency-room doctor at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital who has done work in war-torn Syria, said the crash reminded him of an airstrike. Photographs of the wreckage showed the twisted trailer with most of its wheels in the air and the bus on its side and its back portion destroyed.

Kelly Schatz, Logan’s father, says his 20-year-old son played for the Broncos for a little more than four years and had served as team captain for the past 21/2 years. Meanwhile, tributes poured in online for coach Haugan, a father of two who was described as an amazing mentor to young players.

The names of others killed have not been confirmed. STARS air ambulance said it sent three helicopters to the scene.

The Humboldt Broncos are a close-knit team from the small city of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, which has a population of about 6,000. Many gathered at the community center at the hockey arena there after word of the horrific crash began to circulate.

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