Two victims of Canadian bus crash that killed members of the Humboldt’s youth hockey club misidentified


Updated

April 10, 2018 12:14:14

Two young players involved in a fatal bus crash carrying a junior hockey league team were misidentified, but the mistake was only realised after their families had been incorrectly notified.

Key points:

  • Parker Tobin had been mistakenly identified as Xavier Labelle
  • Error was not discovered until Sunday night
  • Humboldt mayor Rob Muench says it was an unfortunate mistake

The Ministry of Justice for Saskatchewan province said the mistake occurred partly because all the Broncos players had dyed their hair blonde for the play-offs and because all the young men had similar builds.

The ministry said the body of Parker Tobin had been mistakenly identified as that of Xavier Labelle.

It said Xavier was actually one of the 14 injured when the team bus was hit by a semi-trailer truck on Friday night.

Xavier’s family had already confirmed his death and his brother Isaac wrote in an Instagram post he was heartbroken.

But since receiving the news his brother survived, he posted on Facebook, “all I can say is miracles do exist”.

“My deepest condolences to the Tobin family,” he added on Monday.

Matthew Labelle, a second cousin of Xavier, said that “it’s obviously been quite the roller coaster for our family”.

Over the weekend, Parker’s family had tweeted that their son was alive.

“This is one of the hardest posts I have ever had to make. Parker is stable at the moment and being airlifted to Saskatoon hospital,” Rhonda Clarke Tobin wrote.

After receiving the news Parker had actually been killed, a family friend set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to assist future goalies.

“We lost a tremendous hockey player and an outstanding gentleman,” friend Barb Potter wrote on the page.

“Parker was smart, quick-witted, athletic and determined to accomplish many great feats in life.”

Humboldt mayor Rob Muench called the incident “an unfortunate mistake”.

Broncos club president Kevin Garinger said he was contacted by police early Monday about the error and it made a difficult situation more challenging.

“At this point, I just want to reach out and support the families,” Mr Garinger said.

“It’s not about understanding anything.”

‘A lot of these boys looked alike’

Drew Wilby, spokesman for the ministry, and the Office of the Chief Coroner apologised for the mistake.

“To find who they had thought was their loved one wasn’t their loved one I can’t even fathom,” Mr Wilby said.

“I don’t know enough could ever be said. All I could do is offer our sincerest apologies.”

He said families had been involved in identifying the remains of the crash victims at a makeshift morgue and the error wasn’t discovered until Sunday night.

“The new information came to light last night that raised questions with the health care professionals. In turn they were able to identify Xavier Labelle as Xavier Labelle, who of course we had previously said was Parker Tobin,” Mr Wilby said.

“A lot of these boys looked alike.”

Among the dead were Broncos head coach Darcy Haugan, team captain Logan Schatz and radio announcer Tyler Bieber.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said 12 of the survivors were still in the hospital, with four in critical condition.

Four others were in serious condition and four patients were stable.

Player Nick Shumlanski, who was released from hospital, issued a statement thanking people for their support.

“Although reality hasn’t really set in yet, it is truly devastating to have lost so many close friends, brothers and amazing coaches. Times are tough right now but the support you all have shown is so amazing,” he wrote.

He also said that he was lucky to be in the condition he was.

“The doctor told me it was truly a miracle that I was able to get up and walk away from the accident with very minor injuries and a couple of scars on my body,” he said.

Most of the players were from elsewhere in western Canada, and they lived with families in Humboldt, a town of about 6,000 people.

Families who provide homes for players are a large part of junior hockey in Canada.

AP

Topics:

accidents,

canada

First posted

April 10, 2018 12:08:59



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