Bus crash victim misidentified


Associated Press

HUMBOLDT, Saskatchewan

Families and friends already stunned by the deaths of 15 players and team personnel for Humboldt’s youth hockey club got a new shock Monday when authorities announced that one of the dead had been misidentified.

The Ministry of Justice for Saskatchewan province said the mistake occurred partly because all the Broncos players had dyed their hair blond for the team’s appearance in the playoffs and because all the young men had similar builds.

The ministry said the body of Parker Tobin had been mistakenly identified as that of Xavier Labelle. It said Labelle was actually one of the 14 injured when the team bus was hit by a semitrailer truck Friday night.

Drew Wilby, spokesman for the ministry, Wilby and the Office of the Chief Coroner apologized.

“To find who they had thought was their loved one wasn’t their loved one I can’t even fathom,” Wilby said. “I don’t know enough could ever be said. All I could do is offer our sincerest apologies.”

He said families had been involved in identifying the remains of the crash victims at a makeshift morgue and the error wasn’t discovered until Sunday night.

“The new information came to light last night that raised questions with the health care professionals. In turn they were able to identify Xavier Labelle as Xavier Labelle, who of course we had previously said was Parker Tobin,” Wilby said. “A lot of these boys looked alike.”

Over the weekend, Tobin’s family had tweeted that their son was alive.

“This is one of the hardest posts I have ever had to make. Parker is stable at the moment and being airlifted to Saskatoon hospital,” Rhonda Clarke Tobin wrote.

Meanwhile, Xavier Labelle’s family had confirmed his death, with his brother Isaac writing in an Instagram post that he was heartbroken.

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