UPDATE: April 7 — Royal Canadian Mounted Police were notified of another fatality resulting from the crash on Saturday afternoon, bringing the death toll to 15.
A bus carrying a Canadian junior hockey team in the province of Saskatchewan crashed with a semitrailer on Friday evening, killing 15 people and injuring 14 others, according to authorities.
The Humboldt Broncos Hockey Club was 18 miles north of Tisdale (about 170 miles north of Regina) and on its way to a semifinal playoff game against the Nipawin Hawks, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. The bus was carrying a total of 29 passengers at the time of the crash.
Darren Opp, president of the Hawks, said the semitruck hit the Broncos’ bus in a T-bone collision, according to the Canadian Press. “It’s a horrible accident, my God,” Opp told the news agency. “It’s very, very bad.”
Photos of the crash site show the large semitruck and the charter bus both rolled over near an intersection. The roof of the bus is torn open, while the truck’s cargo is scattered across the road.
During a Saturday press conference, Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki of the Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that a male was driving a semitruck westbound on Highway 335 when it collided with the bus, which was traveling northbound on Highway 35, around 5 p.m.
The driver was not injured in the crash, Zablocki said. He was initially detained but later released, according to police.
Zablocki said that authorities are looking into the crash and have recruited specialized investigators, including a collision reconstruction team, to figure out what happened.
“The hockey has strong roots in our province and the sudden loss of so many lives will be felt not only in Saskatchewan, but across this country,” Zablocki said.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed to local news agencies that 15 people were killed on the bus. Another 14 were transported to a hospital with injuries. Royal Canadian Mounted Police was notified of the latest fatality on Saturday afternoon.
While police have not officially named the victims, their families and friends have identified them on social media.
Darcy Haugan, head coach for the Broncos, was among those killed in the crash, according to the Canadian Press.
Assistant coach Mark Cross, team captain Logan Schatz, players Adam Herold, Jaxon Joseph, Stephen Wack, Connor Lukan, Evan Thomas, Logan Boulet, Xavier Labelle, Jacob Leicht and Logan Hunter were also killed in the crash, as were volunteer statistician Brody Hinz, radio announcer Tyler Bieber and bus driver Glen Doerksen.
Derek Patter, an injured Broncos player, was in the hospital recovering along with teammates Nick Shumlanski and Grayson Cameron, according to The New York Times.
Patter’s father, R.J. Patter, tweeted a photo of the three holding hands while in their hospital beds.
Canadian Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said in a tweet that the crash was “truly devastating,” adding that first responders were on the scene “doing everything possible to help.”
The Broncos are part of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. According to the team roster, the players were between the ages of 16 to 21.
The Nipawin Hawks announced about 6 p.m. on Friday that their game against the Broncos was canceled due to a crash. Humboldt is a small town east of Saskatoon, with a population of about 5,869, according to the latest census data.
“I’m in shock as much as anyone,” Broncos President Kevin Garinger told CBC. “We are just in utter disbelief and shock at the loss that’s fallen upon us.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences to the team and their families and friends.
U.S. President Donald Trump also expressed his condolences on Twitter.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to aid the families of those who lost loved ones. In one day, the fundraiser has received over $2.3 million for the victims and their families.
Most of the Broncos players came from places outside Saskatchewan and lived with families in the small town of Humboldt while they played for the team, according to The New York Times. Garinger, the Broncos president, had hosted one of the players who died in the crash in his family’s home.
“It certainly affects all the Prairie Provinces,” Garinger, speaking of the death toll, told the Times. “It’s unbelievable how widespread this is and it’s well beyond Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba.”
Teams across the National Hockey League used their games over the weekend to pay tribute to the Broncos.
On Saturday, the Philadelphia Flyers took a moment of silence to honor the victims, while the Chicago Blackhawks wore jerseys featuring the word “Broncos” while playing against the Winnipeg Jets.
This story has been updated with more information about those who died or were injured in the crash.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the highway on which the team bus was traveling and misspelled the name of Mark Cross, the assistant coach who died.