Two of the hockey bus crash victims were misidentified; one survived, the other did not

Posted at 10:14 AM, Apr 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-09 10:14:56-04

The coroner misidentified two of the Humboldt Broncos hockey players involved in a fatal bus crash, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Xavier Labelle, who was originally listed among the deceased, is actually alive, while Parker Tobin, who had been listed among the survivors, died as a result of the Friday collision, the RCMP said in a Monday news release.

“The Office of the Chief Coroner apologizes for the misidentification and any confusion created by it,” the news release said. “The Coroner’s office extends its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those who lost their lives as well as those who were involved in the collision.”

After being informed that Labelle had died, brother Isaac Labelle told CNN that he was “well-loved by everybody.”

“I also want people to know the good person he is,” Isaac Labelle said.

The Labelle family could not be immediately reached to discuss the news that Xavier Labelle had been misidentified.

Tobin is among the 15 killed in the crash in Canada’s Saskatchewan province. The death toll includes nine other Broncos players, two coaches, two employees of a broadcasting company and the bus driver.

The crash occurred around 5 p.m. Friday north of Tisdale, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as the team was headed for the town of Nipawin for a playoff game. RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said the tractor-trailer, traveling west on Highway 335, collided with the bus, which was traveling north on Highway 35.

The tragedy was felt across Canada, where hockey is the dominant sport and many young players take long bus rides to tournaments.

Humboldt, a town of about 6,000, has a tradition of fielding teams in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The players, ranging in age from 16 to 21, come from different parts of Canada and stay with host families during the season, according to the team’s website.

“Our Broncos family is in shock as we try to come to grips with our incredible loss,” Kevin Garinger, the team’s president, said in a statement.

The hockey community and others rallied around the victims and their families, offering financial assistance.

By Monday morning, a GoFundMe page for the players and their families had raised more than $4.8 million, the result of about 70,000 donations.