The wreckage of a fatal crash outside of Tisdale, Sask., is seen Saturday, April, 7, 2018. A retired police chief wants the coroner’s office in Saskatchewan to develop a plan for responding to mass casualties.Former Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill says the office was tasked with creating such a plan 13 years ago but none exists. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Police chief calls for mass casualty plan in Saskatchewan after Broncos crash

Former Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill said the office was tasked with creating such a plan 13 years ago but none exists

A retired police chief wants the coroner’s office in Saskatchewan to develop a plan for responding to mass casualties like the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Former Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill, who released his review of the provincial coroner’s office Wednesday, said the office was tasked with creating such a plan 13 years ago but none exists.

“They’ve done everything they can to keep their head above water and they haven’t had a lot of time to get right down and deep into some of the policy and procedure that they should be responsible for,” Weighill said.

“It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when we have mass casualties.”

RELATED: Humboldt survivors to attend NHL Awards

In December, a plane crashed near the remote northern community of Fond du Lac, seriously injuring nine people. One man later died in hospital.

In April, a truck and a bus carrying the Broncos junior hockey team collided at an intersection near Tisdale. Sixteen people died and 13 were injured.

Weighill cited both recent tragedies in calling for a mass casualty plan and making 44 recommendations including adding six positions to the coroner’s office.

Weighill, who was tasked with the review in November, said he was excluded from examining specific cases like the mix-up in the identification of two Broncos players.

Two days after the crash, it was discovered that a player believed to be among the dead was actually in hospital, and the player thought to be in the hospital was in the morgue. The name of the player still alive had already been released by the coroner’s office and RCMP on a list of those killed in the crash. The coroner’s office apologized for the mistake.

Weighill said that he met with a Broncos family as part of his review but didn’t name them because he wanted people to be frank.

He suggested the roles of coroners and first responders at scenes where there are mass casualties need to be better defined.

“Further, the plan needs to address issues of mass body transfer, temporary morgue infrastructure and evidence collection criteria.”

Weighill suggested Saskatchewan keep its coroner’s model, instead of changing to one using medical examiners, such as in Alberta and Ontario.

He also recommended staff get help for post-traumatic stress disorder, that community coroners receive more than the current one day of training and that a child death review committee be created.

RELATED: Humboldt Broncos player released from hospital

Justice Minister Don Morgan said he’s not sure how much it will cost to add all the positions that Weighill is recommending.

“But I think it’s probably worthwhile to take that recommendation and look to see if we can do those things better,” Morgan said.

Opposition NDP justice critic Nicole Sarauer said she’s concerned it’s taken this long to develop a mass casualty plan.

“This is what happens when the coroner’s office is chronically underfunded for several years,” she said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Friends of ‘Mac’ rally to fund young family left behind by former martial arts teacher in Surrey

‘He’s well loved,’ says operator of Fraser Heights academy where Mackenzie MacWilliams studied, worked

Surrey burglar loses appeal on Hook & Ladder break-in conviction

The case centred on a Jan. 3, 2016 break-in at the Newton pub

Police food drive to help feed North Delta kids

Donations collected will go support the Rotary Club’s Starfish Pack program

Bus driver assault in Vancouver once again raises safety concerns

A 49-year-old Surrey man was released on a promise to appear in court. No charge has been laid

‘Inventive ideas’ sought soon for Surrey One Act Festival, set to return to Whalley stage

Also planned by Royal Canadian Theatre Company is a Five Minute Play Writing Challenge

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Woman, 60, charged in connection to thefts at YVR

RCMP believe the foreign national is part of a larger organized theft group

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Worst 10 bus routes in Metro Vancouver for rider complaints

TransLink releases list, with Route 319 at the top

VIDEO: Highway One to be widened east to 264th Street in Fraser Valley

The $235 million project includes upgrades to overpasses and a rail bridge

Most Read