Deaths reported in Canadian junior hockey team bus crash

NIPAWIN, Saskatchewan — A crash between a transport truck and a bus carrying a junior hockey team in Western Canada left multiple people dead and others seriously injured, Canadian police said late Friday. 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. 

The Saskatchewan RCMP said in a Facebook post that they could not confirm the number of fatalities at this time.

“Rescue efforts remain ongoing, and that remains our primary focus at this time,” Saskatchewan RCMP wrote. “Therefore, we have limited information available.”

A gathering spot has been set up at a local church for families.

“There have been multiple fatalities – our whole community is in shock,” said Kevin Garinger, president of the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have not released how many people died or were injured in the crash. Garinger said parents from across Western Canada are rushing to the scene as they struggle to cope with the tragedy.

“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 semi T-boned the players’ bus, adding that the coaching staff and players from the Hawks are 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 a hundred people gathered at the church. “Some of them are waiting to hear if their kids are alive.”

Gadsby said they know there are multiple fatalities, but they haven’t heard how many.

Garinger, who has one of the players living in his home, said they still don’t know his fate.

“We don’t know who has passed and we don’t expect to know right away,” he said. “We know that the coroner and their office need to do their work and let families know.”

Kevin Henry, a coach who runs a hockey school in Prince Albert, said people are in shock. “It is sort of every parent’s worst nightmare.”

“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,” Henry said.

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 between the ages of 16 and 20.

RCMP said the collision occurred late Friday afternoon.

“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.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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