Edmonton midget hockey team hit with another tragedy

Allison Salz and Jeff Cummings, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:35 PM ET

EDMONTON -- Two passengers were taken to hospital in Edson, Alta., with serious injuries after a westbound bus slid into the eastbound lanes along an icy stretch of Highway 16, about 25 km east of Hinton, Alta., and rolled.Const. Deanna Alford with the Hinton RCMP says the crash happened sometime around 1:15 p.m. Sunday.

The chartered bus was transporting the South Side Athletic Club Lakewood Chevrolet Midget AA team from Edmonton.

The team was scheduled to play in the small town at 1 p.m. -- two weeks after the hockey club mourned the loss of one of its young players who died in a freak accident during a hockey game.Well-liked hockey player Kyle Fundytus died after a freak accident during a hockey game.

Fundytus, 17, who played for the South Side Athletic Club Don Wheaton team, died Nov. 13 after a puck struck him in the neck while he was trying to block a shot.

After balmy temperatures caused melted snow to spew onto the highway, Alford said, the Hinton area was hit with a sudden deep-freeze Sunday afternoon that caused dangerous driving conditions.

"We are recommending that travel should not happen," Alford said, adding extra police officers have been brought in to deal with the dangerous highways and roads in and around Hinton.Mat Conlon says he noticed passengers piling out of the bus as he drove past the scene on his way back to Edmonton from Jasper, Alta.

The driver says he pulled over immediately to help out the passengers as emergency crews were en route to the crash scene.

"The one who seemed to be in the worst shape was the bus driver," said Conlon.

"His whole head was completely covered in blood. He was borderline unconscious. There was a hole in the windshield where it looked like his head may have hit."Conlon says he recognized the team as he was helping the players, and he believes the situation could have been worse.

"They were all very calm," Conlon said about the players.

"The situation could have been worse because of sheer panic. They handled it very well."

Meanwhile, Alford says the an investigation continues into the crash. A disaster services team within Hinton is also helping those 30 passengers who were onboard the bus.


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