MONTREAL • Canada was in mourning yesterday after a bus carrying a junior ice hockey team collided with a truck in Saskatchewan province, killing 14 people.
In a country where love of the sport is almost a religion, the crash sparked an outpouring of grief among players and fans on social media, while national political leaders expressed their sympathies.
"We can now confirm 14 people have died as a result of this collision," the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a statement, which did not say how many of the victims were players or coaches of the Humboldt Broncos team.
Of the total 28 people on the team bus, including the driver, 14 were taken to hospital with injuries. "Three of these people have injuries that are critical in nature," the RCMP said. It gave no information about the status of the driver of the semi-trailer truck.
The crash took place at around 5pm on Friday on Highway 35, about 28km north of the town of Tisdale, a trading centre in the western province.
The team was heading north for a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game against the Nipawin Hawks.
Police gave no indication of the cause of the crash, but early yesterday, special investigators were still at the scene, which was roughly 150km east of Prince Albert City.
There was a "high volume of incoming trauma cases" at Royal University Hospital and St Paul's Hospital, the Saskatchewan Health Authority said on Twitter. Both hospitals are located in Saskatoon city, about 250km from the crash site.
Fans and players alike shared messages of condolences using the hashtag #PrayforHumboldt.
"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," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a tweet.