Calgary

Fatal bobsled accident not preventable by guards, Winsport's former security manager tells inquiry

The former security chief at WinSport believes those guarding the Canada Olympic Park in Calgary two years ago couldn't have done more to stop teens who broke in one night and rode toboggans down the bobsled track — a prank that cost twin brothers their lives and badly injured others.

Inquiry in Calgary hears from man who was in charge of security on night Caldwell twins died

In February 2016, teens riding down the bobsled track on plastic toboggans hit a chain attached to a movable metal barrier used to separate the bobsled and luge portions of the track at Canada Olympic Park. The barrier opens to one side or the other depending on which athletes are using the track. (Erika Stark/CBC)

The former security chief at WinSport believes those guarding the Canada Olympic Park in Calgary two years ago couldn't have done more to stop teens who broke in one night and rode toboggans down the bobsled track — a prank that cost twin brothers their lives and badly injured others.

A fatality inquiry into the 2016 tragedy started Monday in Calgary. On Wednesday morning, the inquiry heard from Bryon Hardy, the former senior manager of security at WinSport and a former police officer who now works as a pastor in Manitoba.

Twin 17-year-olds Evan and Jordan Caldwell, shown here, died in the crash on the bobsled track at Calgary's Canada Olympic Park. Some of the six surviving teens received serious, life-altering injuries while others walked away unhurt. (Submitted by the Caldwell family)

He said there were two guards working on the night in February 2016 when twins Evan and Jordan Caldwell, 17, died. Some of the six surviving teens received serious, life-altering injuries. Others walked away unhurt after the crash.

Hardy told the inquiry he believes, in hindsight, that there weren't any lapses in security that contributed to the tragedy.

"I believe you could have had more security guards working and this still could have happened," he testified, adding that the practices and the equipment that were in place were "sufficient."

The twins' parents told CBC News earlier in the week they hoped the inquiry would result in security and safety changes around the track.

The inquiry made a field trip to the site on Tuesday afternoon.

Signs and metal barriers at the bobsled track at Canada Olympic Park. Since the 2016 crash, extra fences and gates have been added at all access points. (Colleen Underwood, CBC News)

WinSport's chief operating officer, John Sutherland, gave a tour — with a specific focus on the bobsled track — to the judge and counsel conducting the inquiry, and members of the media.

Since the incident, WinSport has taken steps to improve security at the site, adding extra fences and gates at all access points. 

Procedures were also created to monitor start houses — at the top of the track — and make sure they are open only one hour prior to race sessions and closed immediately after.

Hardy also testified that he was not aware of any other cases of unauthorized uses of the track prior to the fatal crash. 

But on Tuesday, the inquiry heard from Tyler Seitz, the senior manager of track and building operations, who said he was aware of incidents in the 1980s and 1990s of staff riding down the track on shovels.

The role of the judge in a fatality inquiry is not to assign legal blame but to make recommendations to help prevent similar incidents from happening. 

The inquiry is expected to wrap up on Thursday.

With files from Colleen Underwood

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