‘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

Robert Barron column: Lower speed limits could save lives

That’s annoying, but at the same time, I think it will save some lives.

Andrea Rondeau column: I’ll beg if I have to, to get you to vote

Please, please, please mail in your vote in the proportional representation election.

Sarah Simpson column: Cowichan sure knows when to step up to help

Shortly after my birthday last year I wrote a column about gifts.… Continue reading

Cowichan United seeing positives despite results

U21 team falls to Lakehill, but coaches see improvement

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

Legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

Search for contaminant continues at Little Qualicum Cheeseworks

Island company ‘blown away’ by support after E. coli recall of Qualicum Spice cheese

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

Most Read