RCMP say cause of the Saskatchewan bus crash that killed 15 is unknown
Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened when a tractor-trailer collided with a hockey team bus at a Saskatchewan highway intersection in a horrific crash that killed 15 people, including players and the coach of the Humboldt Broncos.
The crash killed the junior hockey team's head coach, Darcy Haugan, captain Logan Schatz, forwards Jaxon Joseph and Logan Hunter, defenceman Stephen Wack and the team's play-by-play radio announcer, Tyler Bieber.
RCMP Asst. Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said the driver of the semi was not hurt and was briefly detained after the crash early Friday evening.
``The driver has subsequently been released. He's also been provided with some mental health and wellness assistance,'' Zablocki said Saturday afternoon.
Police say the 14 who survived the crash have varying degrees of injury, some critical. The names of the dead and injured have not been released, but some have been confirmed by family members and others.
The players come from various towns and cities in Alberta and Saskatchewan while one, Matthieu Gomercic, hails from Winnipeg.
``We are heartbroken and completely devastated by the tragedy that occurred yesterday,'' Broncos team president Kevin Garinger said Saturday. ``We will never forgot the members of our Broncos family who were taken from us and who were injured.''
Police say 29 people were on the bus of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team as it travelled north on the highway heading to Nipawin for a playoff game.
Around 5 p.m. Friday, the truck was heading west at a highway intersection south of Nipawin when it collided with the bus. The force of the crash sent both vehicles into the ditch at the northwest corner of the intersection.
Aerial footage showed the bus on its side, its roof peeled back and its front end destroyed.
The trailer of the truck lay nearby in a shattered mess, with bags of its peat moss cargo scattered all around. The tractor part of the truck was intact, lying on its passenger side.
The tractor-trailer would have had to yield to a stop sign before crossing over the highway that the hockey bus was travelling on. There is a stand of trees on the southeast corner of the intersection, limiting visibility of the approach on both roads.
Zablocki said a lot of issues have to be investigated, including weather conditions at the time and any mechanical issues with the vehicles.
The tragedy brought messages of condolence from around the country, the hockey world and the highest levels of government, including U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said Canada is in mourning.
``We are heartbroken knowing many of those we lost had their entire lives in front of them,'' Trudeau said in a statement Saturday. ``We grieve with those facing news no parent or family should ever have to face.
``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.''
As of early Sunday morning, a crowdfunding effort on the website GoFundMe had raised more than $2.9 million for the players and families affected by the crash.