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10 Apr, 2018 15:56

Canada ice hockey crash: Injured victim alive after being misidentified as deceased player

Canada ice hockey crash: Injured victim alive after being misidentified as deceased player

As mourning continues in Canada following the Humboldt Broncos junior ice hockey team bus crash, local investigators have confirmed that one of the victims of the tragedy was misidentified.

Fifteen people were killed when a semi-trailer collided with the team bus on Friday in Canada’s Saskatchewan province as the team traveled to a match against the Nipawin Hawks.

Saskatchewan's Ministry of Justice said Monday that the body of Broncos player Parker Tobin was mistaken for that of Xavier Labelle, who appeared to be injured, but alive.

"This was an identification error and Xavier is not deceased," the statement said. "Our condolences go out to the family of Parker Tobin. Unfortunately, Parker is one of the 15 that have lost their lives in this terrible tragedy. Parker had been misidentified and was previously believed to have survived."

Unaware her son was dead, Parker’s mother tweeted in the aftermath of the crash that he was being airlifted to hospital and was stable.

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. Thank you all for your kind words and messages. Please continue to pray for his Humboldt family.”

Xavier’s brother Isaac had also confirmed what he thought what his sibling’s death, sharing a heartbreaking post on Instagram in which he spoke of his devastation at losing a “best friend, teammate, and ally.”

The post was then updated with the message: “He is alive. Me and my family are overjoyed. He is a miracle:heart: We offer our condolences to the Tobin family. You’ll all always be close in our hearts.”

The ministry said the case of mistaken identity may have occurred partly because all the Broncos team members had dyed their hair blond for the squad’s playoff games.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Labelle and Tobin families this morning,” Broncos team president Kevin Garinger said. “As we continue to do everything in our power to support all families of victims of this tragedy and every member of the Humboldt Broncos community.”

Broncos head coach Darcy Haugan, team captain Logan Schatz and radio announcer Tyler Bieber all died in the accident. The Saskatchewan Health Authority said that 12 of the survivors still remain in hospital, with four in critical condition.

The driver of the truck that slammed into the bus was initially detained but later released and provided with mental health support, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

No reason for the fatal collision has been announced so far and police insist a full investigation should be carried out, including scrutinizing weather conditions and possible mechanical problems of the two vehicles.