‘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

Raising awareness about Cystic Fibrosis through a movie

B.C. mother shares the story of her child suffering from the fatal genetic disease

SD91 and UNBC held a workshop where students discussed community stressors

Youth voices are important and need to be heard, says UNBC researcher

BC Search and Rescue Association receives $18.6 million in funding

Largest injection of funds in the history of Ground SAR, says BCSARA secretary Chris Mushumanski

Northwest mobile unit to help those at heart of mental health, addiction crisis

Province, Northern Health unveils new unit in Terrace to bridge gaps in services

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

Most Read