A bus crash in Humboldt, Saskatchewan killed 16 people and injured 13 others just over a week ago, and authorities faced some difficulty in identifying the victims.
The bus was carrying the Humboldt Broncos a team that plays in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. According to a report by CTV, on Friday, April 6, they began a two-hour drive north to Nipawin for a high-stakes playoff game, when their bus crashed into an oncoming tractor-trailer truck.
Casualties included the head coach, the play-by-play radio announcer, and several teammates. The crash was so forceful that it sent both large vehicles careening into a ditch just off the road. Photos from the scene, published by The Star, show the roof of the bus completely torn off.
The tragedy was compounded for two of the victims' families, who found that their children had been mixed up in all the confusion. The family of Parker Tobin spent two days by the bedside of an injured boy before discovering that it wasn't their son, but actually that of his teammate Xavier Labelle. Tobin had been killed in the crash.
Meanwhile, Labelle's family spent two days mourning their son, and now faced the shocking realization that he had been lying in a hospital bed all weekend without them. Authorities reportedly mis-identified the boys due to the extent of their injuries, and the fact that they had all dyed their hair a uniform bleach blond in solidarity for the game.
The local community and people around the world reached out to support the Humboldt community in the wake of the horrific tragedy. A GoFundMe page for the team and their families raised a total of $12,123,918 after setting a $4 million goal. After the unexpected influx of cash, the campaign was extended to Wednesday, at which point all of the money will be moved into the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund.
The money will pay for medical and funeral expenses for the victims, and the Broncos president Kevin Garinger said that he will soon have a more specific breakdown of where all of the money will be allocated. He gave a lot of credit to Humboldt resident Sylvie Kellington, who set up the campaign in the victims' honor.
"Sylvie was hoping to raise $5,000 to maybe buy coffee and support maybe parking, and that sort of thing, to help families," he said. "It of course grew much larger than that."
Here is a look at the 16 people whose loves were lost in the unthinkable crash.
Loved and respected, a teammate to all of them. Rest In Peace Dayna Brons. pic.twitter.com/SOqHprYzQP— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) April 12, 2018
Dayna Brons worked as the Broncos' athletic therapist. At 24 years old, she was a kinesiology and human kinetics student at the University of Regina, with a certificate in athletic therapy from Mount Royal University.
Logan Schatz – #HumboldtBroncos Centre & Captain…
Born leader, lit up the room with his smile, tenacious, fierce competitor, contagious laugh, life of the party, Rotten Donkey ball hockey, beer pong champ, avid golfer and fitness buff.April 15, 2018
Logan Schatz had played for the Broncos for over four years at the time of his death. He was team captain for about two and a half years. The 20-year-old played center, and had just been named the league's player of the month in February.
"It's hard," his father, Kelly Schatz told CTV. "I've got four other kids and they're here, which is nice."
Jaxon Joseph you will forever be in our hearts. We love you💛💚 pic.twitter.com/XSOxgDLuaX— Danielle Sedgwick (@Sedgee17) April 12, 2018
Jaxon Joseph was one of the leading scorers in the league playoffs before his death. He was 20 years old. He was the son of Chris Joseph, a retired NHL player who had played for the Edmonton Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks.
Darcy Haugan - #HumboldtBroncos Head Coach…
Hard worker, gracious, selfless, full of character and integrity, inspirational, supportive, humble, hero, the coach every player wanted and every coach wanted to be.April 15, 2018
The Humboldt Broncos' head coach, Darcy Haugan, also died in the tragic crash. His friends and colleagues had nothing but praise for the 42-year-old.
"The Humboldt Broncos were about -- not building hockey players -- but creating amazing young men. And that's what we had in our organization, amazing young men," said Broncos president Kevin Garinger. "That was Darcy's belief and through that they would ultimately become great hockey players too."
Tyler Bieber - #HumboldtBroncos Play-By-Play Announcer…
Constant jokester, selfless giver of time, generous, caring, ahead of his time, genuine, passionate, and a critical part of so many lives.April 15, 2018
Tyler Bieber was the play-by-play announcer for the Broncos. He worked for CHBO, the Humboldt radio station, and travelled with the team frequently. He was 29 years old.
Glen Doerksen - #HumboldtBroncos Bus Driver…
Accomplished athlete, active volunteer, lover of golf, avid story teller, social butterfly, being around Glen was like being around fun.April 15, 2018
Glen Doerksen, 59, was the bus driver on the night of the fateful crash. The team, who travelled with him often, referred to him affectionately as "Bussy." He had worked as a long-haul truck driver for two years before signing on with Charlie's Charters bus company in October.
Mark Cross, 27, Strasbourg, SK. Played for the Estevan Bruins before going to the OUA and leading the York Lions. Came back to his home province to coach. pic.twitter.com/Gp4LmPGxRz— Chris Vandenbreekel (@Vandecision) April 8, 2018
Mark Cross, an assistant coach with the Broncos, was just 27 years old when he was killed in the crash.
An emotional statement from Stephen Wack’s family read inside the St.Albert Raider’s dressing room. pic.twitter.com/BweXrSraF8— Rachelle Elsiufi (@CityRachelle) April 8, 2018
Defenseman Stephen Wack was in his second season with the Broncos. The 21-year-old was regarded as one of the most passionate hockey enthusiasts on the team.
Adam Herold - #HumboldtBroncos Defenseman…
Always smiling, humble, positive, genuine, avid snowmobiler, outdoorsman, amazing big brother, leader of many, loved by all.April 16, 2018
Adam Herold was only five days away from his 17th birthday at the time of the bus crash. The youngest member of the team had just moved over from the Regina Pat Canadians in the hopes of boosting their chances in the playoffs.
Logan Hunter had previously played for the St. Alberta Raiders before joining the Broncos. The forward was 18 years old, and was reportedly a happy-go-lucky young man.
"He always had a smile on his face," said Alberta Raiders' president Kevin Porter, who described Hunter as a "smart kid and a great hockey player" with a "great sense of humour."
Logan Boulet - #HumboldtBroncos Defense….
Multi-sport athlete, talented hockey player, quiet but lit up a room with quick wit, artistic, musical and an adventurer.April 14, 2018
Logan Boulet was 21 years and one month old when passed away in the crash. His family reportedly kept him on life support following the crash so that his organs could be donated, just as he had wished.
Brody Hinz - #HumboldtBroncos Statistician...
Gentle giant, avid researcher, helping hand, numbers wizard, sports kingpin, passionate and positive.April 14, 2018
Another teenager, Brody Hinz, was killed in the crash. The 18-year-old was interning with the team while finishing high school.
Evan Thomas - #HumboldtBroncos Centreman…
Magical light, humble, competitive, fiercely intelligent, full of character, hard worker, generous hearted, fantastic athlete, a great sense of humor, a team guy through and through.April 16, 2018
Rookie player Evan Thomas also lost his life in the crash. The Saskatoon native was revered as a fiercely loyal teammate. Thomas's father described him as the kind of kid any dad would be proud to call his own.
"He was a self-driven, motivated, retrospective, quiet, confident and very self-assured young man," he added. "He liked sports, but at times I think he tolerated sports so he could be a teammate. He just loved being a teammate. He loved his teammates and I think that was more important to him than the actual sport he was playing. He loved those boys. He really loved those boys."
At 21 years old, Lukan was another Raiders alumni on the Broncos' roster. He was a tough player, but revered as a nice guy off the ice, even among those he played against.
Jacob Leicht – #HumboldtBroncos Left Wing…
Valentine baby, cheery, active and bright, small but with a big heart, fast as “leichtning,” hard worker, stellar big brother, outdoorsman, musician and with deep, quiet faith.April 16, 2018
Jacob Leicht was a Humboldt native. At 19, he played forward for the Broncos. It was only his first season with the team.
Parker Tobin - #HumboldtBroncos Goalie…
Endless optimist, witty jokester, kind and gentle soul, passionate learner, infectious smile, avid gamer, stand-up guy, generous with his time, an inspiration to his teammates.April 15, 2018
Parker Tobin, 18, was the student tragically mistaken for another, Xavier Labelle, in the immediate aftermath of the crash. A goalie, Tobin was also in his first season with the Broncos. His family issued a joint statement with Labelle's on Monday, saying that they are "grieving together."