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

Abbotsford mom stuck in Africa over adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran have been waiting four weeks to bring son home

Abbotsford election turnout in line with past votes

Thirty-six per cent of eligible Abbotsford voters cast a ballot in Saturday’s municipal election

Chickens die in morning barn fire in Abbotsford

Structure broke out in flames on Leclair Street in Bradner

Abbotsford boy among winners of national recipe contest

Isaac, 10, heads to Ottawa to participate in Kid Food Nation Gala

‘I’m elated’: Braun wins; incumbents returned en masse; Banman back

Henry Braun becomes first incumbent mayor of Abbotsford to win re-election since 1999

VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Fraser Valley Throwdown 2018

Highlights from the annual crossfit event at Abbotsford Centre

Ovechkin has 4 points as Caps rough up Canucks 5-2

WATCH: Defending champs pick up impressive win in Vancouver

Vancouver mayoral hopefuly admits defeat, congratulates winner Kennedy Stewart

Ken Sim of the Non-Partisan Association apologized for the time it took to acknowledge Stewart won

Mental fitness questioned of man charged in Chilliwack River Valley shooting

Peter Kampos told his lawyer ‘his dreams are being stolen and turned into drugs’ at Surrey Pre-trial

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

Appeals must be dealt with in Europe, before charges faced in B.C.

Most Read