‘It’s past a nightmare:’ Father of Humboldt crash survivor recalls carnage

A bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team crashed into a truck en route to Nipawin for a game Friday night killing 15

Last Friday, Myles Shumlanski sped down the highway to the scene of a nightmare.

He stopped there again Tuesday, looking through snow for wallets, cellphones and other belongings of the 15 people who died.

“It’s starting to melt,” he told The Canadian Press.

“I’m sure some parents would really appreciate something returned.”

Related: A look at the victims of the Humboldt team bus crash

For Shumlanski, the rural intersection he passes each day on the way to his home in northeastern Saskatchewan will never be the same.

He was one of the first to arrive after a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team collided with a semi truck about 20 kilometres north of Tisdale. The team was on its way to a playoff game in nearby Nipawin.

Shumlanski’s 20-year-old son, Nick, a forward who had recently joined the Broncos, was on the bus.

He was miraculously able to walk away from the wreckage, grab a phone lying in the debris and call home.

His parents, sitting in their house along the highway just a kilometre away, had seen the bus go by.

“You know, I kind of heard something. But we’ve got dogs so we really never paid attention,” said Shumlanski. “All of a sudden, a phone call. It was him. They were in an accident.”

He said he jumped in his vehicle and headed down the road. It was a devastating site.

“I don’t know how to explain it even as a nightmare, because it’s past a nightmare,” said Shumlanski.

“When you come up you see that bus and you didn’t know it was a bus … the roof was beside the bus. It was torn off.

“Some people thought it was just part of the trailer before they started seeing that carnage.”

Related: Humboldt bus crash investigation will take months: experts

Shumlanski said he helped those he could.

“I looked under the roof. The boys under there were still alive so I put blankets over them.”

Shumlanski said his shaken son waited in the family’s vehicle.

“I had to run back to give him a hug because you just knew, ‘Oh my God you’re a fortunate guy.’”

Most of the debris has been removed since police reopened the intersection on Sunday. A large tarp remained over some of the muddy frozen ground where the bus landed.

A memorial was set up — two crosses made of hockey sticks with the words “Humboldt Strong” written on them, with stuffed animals, hundreds of bouquets of flowers and messages of condolences as well as a small wooden altar covered in flowers and candles.

“April 6, 2018. For those who were lost. For those that survived.”

Lorrie White and his father Norman, who live on farms across the road from the crash came to pay their respects.

“Dad kind of wanted to come and have a look and I was here last night just to show respect for the ones that lost their lives here. It’s terrible,” said Lorrie.

He said he heard the collision.

“I thought it was maybe the train because the train had just been here hooking up cars and when they do that it bangs, you know? But my wife said, ‘No. I think that was a different bang.’”

Shumlanski said Nick is strong and doing okay despite what he has gone through and visits the hospital every day. A dozen of the 14 injured are still being treated for various injuries.

“I think his counselling is staying at the hospitals with his buddies and talking to his hockey friends. The other night he was going to the hospital. It was a little late. I said are you sure you want to go. He said those boys need to see a survivor and so do their parents,” he said.

RCMP said they continue to investigate the cause of the crash, but Myles Shumlanski said he can’t help but be angry at the truck driver, who wasn’t injured.

“An accident of this magnitude shouldn’t have happened. But it happened and there’s nothing we can do about it now,” he said.

“Of course I’m angry, because there’s a stop sign. What happened? Why would this happen?”

Related: ‘Heroes to many:’ Support offered to Humboldt students after bus crash kills 15

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Myles Shumlanski looks around a makeshift memorial at the intersection of a fatal bus crash near Tisdale, Sask., Tuesday, April, 10, 2018. Shumlanski’s son Nick was one of the survivors of a fatal bus crash.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Just Posted

Houston athlete trying out for regional girls’ team

Zone 7 girls’ team is first in eight years

Winter road maintenance standards boosted

Quicker response times, longer winter tire season to be implemented

HVAC overhaul to continue this summer

Upgrades at Houston Secondary School (HSS) are a long-time coming, according to… Continue reading

Northern B.C. rail service is unreliable and inadequate, trade minister says

Bruce Ralston pushes federal minister of transport to ensure reliable supply of rail cars

Celebrate the Value of Volunteering

National Volunteer Week is April 15-21

Lt.-Gov. Guichon believes she made the right decision in last B.C. election

Outgoing Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon said her most memorable moments weren’t surrounding the election

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Pulp mill fined $900,000 for leaking effluent into B.C. lake

Mackenzie Pulp Mill pleaded guilty to depositing deleterious substance into water frequented by fish

B.C.’s 2-year lobbying ban starts May 1

Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists can grant exemptions from the prohibition if public interest

Horgan speaks of government’s successes to ‘friends’ at CUPE BC convention

CUPE BC president Paul Faoro said was first time a B.C. premier addressed convention in some time

Speed Skating Canada fires coach Michael Crowe after investigation

Crowe was a coach on the American team from 1983 to 1991 and again from 1999 to 2006

5 things to know about the ongoing influx of asylum seekers in Canada

Number of illegal border crossings are up this year – as RCMP, military, politicians try to combat

Time to let go for BC bears, otters, bobcat

Northern Lights Wildlife shelter near Smithers set to release orphaned animals this spring.

Most Read