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Canada crash: Country mourns Humboldt Broncos bus dead

There has been an outpouring of grief across Canada after 15 people died in a collision involving a bus carrying a junior ice hockey team on Friday.

At least nine players on the Humboldt Broncos team, aged between 16 and 21, died when their team bus collided with a semi-trailer in Saskatchewan.

Police are still trying to determine the reason for the crash. The lorry’s driver was not hurt.

Teams around the country paid tribute to the dead during weekend fixtures.

Many have pledged donations to support their families and the surviving players. Online fundraising pages have raised millions of dollars.

Who are the victims?

There were 29 people on the team’s bus when the crash happened around 17:00 local time (23:00 GMT) on Friday. That number includes players, coaching staff and the driver.

Details have been slow to trickle out in the wake of the tragedy, and the identities of the deceased have not yet been officially released by authorities.

Canadian public broadcaster CBC spoke to the sister of coach Darcy Haugan, who said he was killed in the collision.

The family of team captain Logan Schatz, 20, confirmed that he died in the crash. He played for the team for more than four years.

Isaac Labelle, the brother of 18-year-old Xavier Labelle, posted online about his death, calling him his best friend.

“I’m going to miss you bro. I’ll always remember you and who you were will influence me for the rest of my life,” he said on Instagram.

The Surrey Eagles, the former team of 20-year-old Jaxon Joseph, confirmed his death in a tweet posted on Saturday.

At least six other players, aged between 16 and 21, are reported to be among the dead, as well as an assistant coach and two people from a local radio station.

Photographs posted on social media showed several injured members of the team holding hands with each other in hospital.

Fourteen people were injured in the crash, including two critically.

One team member’s father, Tom Straschnitzki, said his son Ryan was in hospital with a serious back injury and has said that he cannot feel his legs.

The family flew to his bedside on Saturday.

“He keeps asking about his team and coaches. I say: ‘I don’t know son’,” he told the BBC from his home in Airdrie, Alberta.

What is known about the crash?

The lorry and bus collided on Highway 35, north of Tisdale. The team were heading to the town of Nipawin for a play-off game.

Aerial photographs of the crash site show it happened close to a junction between two roads.

The lorry driver was not injured in the collision and has been allowed to go free while authorities investigate the cause of the crash, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have said.

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