A crash between a transport truck and a bus carrying a junior hockey team in the province of Saskatchewan has left 14 people dead and 14 injured, according to multiple reports, citing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Police said there were 28 people on the bus at the time of the crash, including the driver. Three of the injuries are critical in nature. The RCMP said the collision occurred late Friday afternoon.
The bus was carrying the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League to the town of Nipawin for a playoff game. It collided with a transport truck.
“This is much larger than anyone can begin to imagine,” Broncos president Kevin Garinger told the CBC. “We are just in utter disbelief and shock at the loss that’s fallen upon us.”
Garinger told The Canadian Press that the team includes players from Edmonton, Slave Lake and Airdrie in Alberta and from Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
“It’s a horrible accident, my God,” said Darren Opp, president of the Nipawin Hawks hockey team. “It’s very, very bad.”
Opp said a semitruck T-boned the players’ bus, adding that the coaching staff and players from the Hawks were waiting to help.
“They are sitting in the church just waiting to hear any good news,” he said. “There’s uncles and moms and dads waiting to hear whether their sons and nephews are OK.”
Pastor Jordan Gadsby at the Apostolic Church in Nipawin said more than 100 people had gathered at the church.
“Some of them are waiting to hear if their kids are alive,” he said.
Kevin Henry, a coach who runs a hockey school in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, said people there are in shock.
“It is sort of every parent’s worst nightmare,” Henry said. “This is, I would think, one of the darkest days in the history of Saskatchewan, especially because hockey is so ingrained in how we grow up here.”
The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League is a Junior “A” hockey league under Hockey Canada, which is part of the Canadian Junior Hockey League. It’s open to North American-born players from the ages of 16 to 20.
“I cannot imagine what these parents are going through, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy, in the Humboldt community and beyond,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.