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Deadly Crash | Humboldt Broncos

'Sun was shining' during Broncos crash, probe ongoing: RCMP

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Thursday, April 19, 2018, 7:47 PM - The investigation into a deadly crash involving the Humboldt Broncos continues, and RCMP say it is too early to determine whether charges will be laid.

In a press conference Thursday, RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki confirmed a tractor-trailer was in the intersection at the time of the crash on April 6.

"I can assure you that all of our efforts are dedicated to determining why the tractor-trailer unit was in the intersection," said Zablocki. "We know the road conditions were clear and the sun was shining at the time of the collision."

Zablocki added that the driver of the tractor-trailer remains in constant contact with the RCMP. The intersection of Highway 35 and 335 south of Nipawin, Sask., will be closed to traffic until 6 p.m. local time Thursday while collision reconstructionists examine the scene.

A sixteenth victim, athletic therapist Dayna Brons, was announced to have died in hospital on April 11.

More than a dozen other members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team were injured in the accident, which occurred as the team was traveling to a league playoff game in the town of Nipawin, about 200 km northeast of Humboldt. The bus collided with the semi-trailer truck. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined religious and community leaders at an emotional vigil on the night of April 8 to honour those lost in the crash. Hundreds of people including National Hockey League (NHL) players attended the vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos club.

"We’re here behind you. We will be here for you," Rob Muench, mayor of the small farming town of Humboldt in Saskatchewan province, told the gathering. "We will get through this."

Former NHL star Sheldon Kennedy was among those who attended the vigil. Kennedy was on board a bus involved in another fatal crash in 1986, in which four members of the Swift Current Broncos were killed.

RELATED: Canadians put their sticks out for Humboldt in a True North tribute, see photos

One minute silence was observed at the time when the playoff game was scheduled.

"Today and for every day forward we are all humble Broncos and we will be forever humble Broncos strong,” Broncos President Kevin Geringer told the members attending the vigil.

For the Prairies community of Humboldt, population about 6,000, ice hockey is a sport that unifies the town and gives it its identity, bringing home two national championships.

Townspeople and team supporters gathered at the local Uniplex sports and education complex to comfort each other. An online fund-raising initiative to help the victims' families has raised C$15.1 million [as of Thursday evening].

The Broncos' head coach Darcy Haugan and the team's 20-year-old captain, Logan Schatz, were among those killed.

The 2017-2018 Humboldt Broncos Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team is pictured in this undated handout photo. Amanda Brochu/Handout via REUTERS

Many social media users posted Haugan's photograph alongside messages of shock and sympathy, and the hashtags #prayersforhumboldt and #humboldtstrong.

"God bless Darcy Haugan for being an incredible mentor and coach to young hockey players and prayers for his family to help cope with their immense loss," the Western Provinces Hockey Association wrote on Twitter.

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman said the NHL mourned the passing of those who died "and offers strength and comfort to those injured while travelling to play and be part of a game they loved."

Apr 7, 2018; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; The Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks observe a minute of silence for the Humbolt Broncos before the first period at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Humboldt Broncos logo at centre ice at the Edgar Peterson Arena in Humboldt Saskatchewan, Canada April 7, 2018. REUTERS/Matt Smith

Members of the community and media gather for a press conference with RCMP and representatives of the Humboldt Broncos and the Junior Hockey League at the Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt Saskatchewan, Canada April 7, 2018. REUTERS/Matt Smith

President of the SJHL Bill Chao speaks with members of the community and media during a press at the Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt Saskatchewan, Canada April 7, 2018. REUTERS/Matt Smith

A Humboldt Broncos team jersey is seen among notes and flowers at a memorial for the Humboldt Broncos team leading into the Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canada April 7, 2018. REUTERS/Matt Smith

(Reporting by Matt Smith in Humboldt; Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Frank Pingue in Augusta, Georgia; Writing by Denny Thomas and Daniel Wallis; Editing by Tom Brown and G Crosse)

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