A woman lays flowers at a memorial on the stairs leading into Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, in Humboldt, Sask., on Saturday, April 7, 2018. RCMP say 14 people are dead and 14 people were injured Friday after a truck collided with a bus carrying a junior hockey team to a playoff game in northeastern Saskatchewan. Police say there were 28 people including the driver on board the Humboldt Broncos bus when the crash occurred at around 5 p.m. on Highway 35 north of Tisdale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

Body in Humboldt Broncos bus crash misidentified: justice ministry

The ministry says the body of Humboldt Broncos player Parker Tobin was mistaken for that of Xavier Labelle

A spokesman for Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice says authorities mixed up the identities of one of the deceased and one of the survivors in the Humboldt Broncos crash, partly because the players all had blond dyed hair and similar builds.

Drew Wilby says the coroner’s office mistook the body of 18-year-old goalie Parker Tobin for that of Xavier Labelle.

Labelle is injured but alive, and Tobin is among the 15 people who died when the bus carrying the junior hockey team collided with a semi truck in northeastern Saskatchewan on Friday.

Wilby says dental records are the best way to identify deceased but those can take days to track down, especially given the hockey players were from all over western Canada.

Related: B.C. hockey chaplain helps community grieve after Humboldt Broncos’ bus crash

Related: ‘Great group of kids:’ Stories of 15 killed in Humboldt Broncos bus crash

He says the coroner’s office was following a standard procedure to identify the victims but it was difficult since the players had all dyed their hair blond for the playoff run, were all around the same age and had the same athletic build.

Wilby says the mistake is unprecedented in Saskatchewan’s history and the families affected have been very understanding.

The Humboldt Broncos were on their way to a playoff game Friday in Nipawin when the crash occurred.

Fourteen people were injured in the collision.

Over the weekend, Tobin’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.

Meanwhile, Labelle’s family had confirmed his death over the weekend, with his brother writing in an Instagram post that he was heartbroken.

News of the mistake comes a day after a solemn vigil was held at the team’s home arena, where thousands gathered to remember the deceased.

Among those in attendance was Nick Shumlanski, the first of the Broncos to be released from hospital.

On Sunday night, he tweeted out a statement saying the support he’s received has been helpful.

“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.

Related: Forward Conner Lukan killed in Humboldt Broncos team bus crash

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Upper Room Mission grieves sudden deaths of two Vernon women

Mehgan and Teresa died in Vernon earlier this month — one from a fatal overdose, the other, a casualty of a high-risk lifestyle

Elected officials lobby for government grants for Vernon cultural centre

Planning process underway for the $40 million project

Homelessness, open drug use continue to plague Vernon

Last Wednesday a homeless man was observed occupying the entrance to the City of Vernon’s bylaw office

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: mainly sunny

Environment Canada is calling for a chance of showers tomorrow across the Okanagan

RCMP wish North Okanagan grads safe season

Friendly reminders to grads, friends and families to enjoy a safe graduation

Raptors announcer credited with calming massive crowd after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

Mini-horse power lifts spirits at Langley care home

Gunner turned a visit with grandpa a major event for everyone at the residence

Women sue former Vancouver cop over alleged sexual abuse during pimp case

Two women claim James Fisher caused psychological trauma during the Reza Moazami investigation

First ever Indigenous person to join the RCMP to be honoured in B.C.

Hawk Kelly said becoming a Mountie was his dream job as a kid

Survive an Apocalypse in Kelowna with this virtual game

Apocolypse Made Easy is an interactive online survival game

Sexting teens at risk of harms including depression, substance use: study

Use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana were also found to be associated with sexting

Deadline for cabinet to decide future of Trans Mountain expansion is today

International Trade Minister Jim Carr described the decision as ‘very significant’

Rascal Flatts extend summer tour to the South Okanagan

Rascal Flatts create a Forever Summer Playlist tour extending it into the fall

RCMP spike belts help nab alleged Okanagan car thieves

RCMP arrested two Kelowna men who attempted to evade two spike belts

Most Read