Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice says one of the deceased in Friday’s bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos was misidentified.
The ministry says the body of Parker Tobin was mistaken for that of Xavier Labelle.
Labelle is injured but alive, and Tobin is among the 15 people who died when the bus carrying the junior hockey team collided with a semi truck in northeastern Saskatchewan.
The Office of the Chief Coroner has apologized for the misidentification, offering condolences to Tobin’s family.
The ministry did not say how the mix-up occurred.
The news comes a day after a solemn vigil at the team’s home arena, where thousands gathered to remember the deceased and honour the 14 injured.
Tobin still has family in our community.
The 18 year old recorded his first career Junior A win against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons at the Casman Centre when he played with the Drayton Valley Thunder on November 19, 2016.
He stopped 38 of 39 shots in a 2-1 win for the Thunder.
Tobin started this season with the Spruce Grove Saints before being traded to Humboldt in November.
As of early Monday morning, a crowdfunding effort on the website GoFundMe surpassed its $4-million for the players and families affected by the crash, and the donations continue to roll in.
Fort McMurray has stepped up to show their support for the Humboldt Broncos. On Saturday, April 14, there will be a public skate the Casman Centre with admission by donation and a silent auction fundraiser event at the Boston Pizza downtown with all proceeds going directly towards the GoFundMe.
RCMP confirmed the other 15 lives taken as head coach Darcy Haugan, assistant coach Mark Cross, captain Logan Schatz, and forwards Evan Thomas, Conner Lukan, Jaxon Joseph, Logan Hunter and Jacob Leicht.
Defencemen Adam Herold,, Stephen Wack and Logan Boulet were also killed in the crash, along with bus driver, Glen Doerksen, play-by-play radio announcer Tyler Bieber and statistics collector Brody Hinz.
The investigation into the crash is ongoing
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.
The cause of the collision has yet to be determined and investigators are actively looking into it.
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.
RCMP Asst. Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said a lot of issues have to be investigated, including weather conditions at the time and any mechanical issues with the vehicles.
“Due to the large amount of evidence, information, and the number of victims this work will take some time,” said Zablocki. “It’s too early to comment on the cause of the collision.”
Zablocki said the driver of the semi was not hurt and was briefly detained after the crash and has also been provided with some mental health and wellness.
The victims were dispatched by helicopter and ambulance to care centres in nearby Saskatoon.
Thoughts, prayers and messages of condolence come from across the country
Hassan Masri, an emergency room doctor at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital, said a code orange emergency was called signalling massive casualties.
“The images and the injuries that I saw yesterday, really that’s what they reminded me of, when there was an airstrike and a massive number of people would be coming in at the same time in horrible shape,” said Masri, who has done work in war-torn Syria.
Masri said it was emotional given Saskatchewan communities are knit together by hockey.
“A lot of people have kids that play on hockey teams that travel from town to town,” he said. “This was either personal because you knew someone or personal because you could really relate to it.”
In Humboldt, the team’s home rink became a scene of mourning, support, and strength.
Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench, wearing a green and yellow team Broncos jersey, hugged people Saturday morning as they came to the Elger Petersen Arena to comfort each other.
“It has hit us hard. We are a small community by most standards, but the hockey team has always been a big part of our community,” said Muench.
Many people wandered in and out of the arena during the day. Multiple crisis workers were assisting in a separate area.
Flowers were placed on the stairs in the rink stands. The railings were wrapped in yellow and green ribbon to honour the team.
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.”