He heard the bus driver scream, saw the truck and then everything went black.
That’s what Ryan Straschnitzki, who plays defence for the Humboldt Broncos, remembers of the tragic bus crash that killed 15 people in a small Saskatchewan town.
“I just remember sitting there on my phone and all of a sudden our bus driver screamed ‘woah!’ and a semi-truck pulled up in front of us,” he told KiSS 92.5’s Roz and Mocha from his hospital bed in Saskatoon.
“After that I just blacked out and a couple minutes later I woke up. (I) ended up outside the bus, staring directly at the bus. Saw a couple teammates lying in front of me … It was a terrible experience.”
It’s a tragedy that’s rocked a small town and drawn condolences from across the province, the country and even the world.
In the hours after the crash, NHL players and teams began tweeting messages of condolences to the Humboldt Broncos and all those affected by the crash. That support quickly expanded to other professional sports figures, politicians and even the Queen of England.
But Straschnitzki said he didn’t know much about all that.
“I mean, it got pretty big up here in Canada. We got Don Cherry visited. Trudeau visited, but that’s about it,” he explained.
It wasn’t until he got a new phone that he saw just how far the news had spread.
“I ended up getting a new phone and it was just buzzing with messages. I saw all the tweets. It’s pretty extraordinary what’s going on,” he said.
When emergency crews arrived on scene Straschnitzki was rushed to hospital with several broken bones, internal bleeding to the head and a broken T2 and T3 spinal cord.
Straschnitzki said physically he’s getting better every day but the reality is that he’s still processing everything that’s happened over the last few days and losing so many teammates.
“It’s all still building up. It’s still going to be a long rollercoaster of emotions,” he said.
“We’re really close. Probably one of the closest teams I’ve been on. We weren’t afraid to talk to anyone about anything. We never gave up. We were resilient, persistent, humble.”
Thousands of people gathered together in Humboldt on Sunday to remember those killed in the crash.
People laid flowers in a circle around centre ice in the rink as family and friends of players listened to prayers and hymns.
Pictures of the dead and injured were placed on stands at one end of the arena.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Listen to the complete interview below: