Isaac Labelle and his family went through “hell,” and escaped two days later, upon learning that his brother, Xavier, was misidentified as one of the victims in the tragic Humboldt youth hockey club bus crash.
Teammate Parker Tobin was mistaken for Labelle and incorrectly listed as a survivor.
“All I can say is miracles do exist,” Issac wrote on Facebook, two days after confirming his brother’s death. “My deepest condolences to the Tobin family.”
The families are “grieving together,” and released a joint statement Monday night, saying they “hope the focus will remain on those grieving and those recovering, not the confusion in an unimaginable tragedy.”
Drew Wilby, spokesman for the Ministry of Justice for Saskatchewan, apologized for the horrific error, and referenced the fact that players on the team had all dyed their hair blond and “a lot of these boys looked alike,” via CNN. Families of the victims were involved in identifying the victims at a temporary morgue.
Labelle is currently in a hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, but his medical condition has not been made public.
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“To find who they had thought was their loved one wasn’t their loved one I can’t even fathom,” Wilby said. “I don’t know enough could ever be said. All I could do is offer our sincerest apologies.
“As you can imagine, with a collision of this nature, there is significant trauma. The way to 100 percent confirm this is through dental records. And dental records take time.”
Wilby, who said dental records were not used to correct the identification, said that members of Labelle’s family took part in incorrectly identifying the body. Xavier’s father, Paul, was driving behind the team bus before Friday’s crash and is an emergency medicine doctor, but police prevented him from assisting after the crash.
After the crash, Rhonda Clarke Tobin, Parker’s mother, wrote she was shaken by the accident, which she believed spared her son’s life.
“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,” she tweeted.
Broncos club president Kevin Garinger learned of the mistake Monday.
“At this point, I just want to reach out and support the families,” Garinger said. “It’s not about understanding anything.”