Calgary bobsled-track crash survivors have long road ahead
Survivor Danny Spalding hailed as hero for helping in crash aftermath
A thumbs-up and a squeeze of the hand. Those simple gestures from Caleb Hettinga's hospital bed offer hope to his friends, family and church community.
The teen is the most seriously injured of the six survivors of a tobogganing crash on the bobsled track at Canada Olympic Park Saturday morning. David Carr also survived, while twins Evan and Jordan Caldwell died on the track.
Hettinga suffered severe trauma to his head and face — including the loss of an eye — and has a long road ahead, according to Pastor Quinn Davis in his sermon at the Rocky Mountain Calvary Church.
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In his Sunday sermon, Davis said Hettinga has already undergone several surgeries and has more ahead.
Davis said he visited the teen on Sunday morning, and though he can't speak Hettinga squeezed Davis' hand and gave him a thumbs-up gesture.
Five of the eight teens involved attended the Calvary Church, including the Caldwell twins.
'We are so grateful for Danny Spalding'
Survivor Danny Spalding helped flag security officers who were able to call 911 after the crash.
His cousin Matthew Kessler says Spalding is likely still in shock from the experience.
"I mean we've all been through some bad experiences, but this has got to be — I mean to be covered in your friends blood, watch them die — ... horribly traumatizing. We're all just trying to give him space and time to come into the realization," said Kessler.
On Sunday, Spalding was able to attend the service at his church where he was hailed as a hero by Davis.
"We are so grateful for Danny Spalding, so thankful for his quick response, for his due care and attention in helping to facilitate the events that would follow this tragic accident," said Davis.
Carr, a Grade 12 student at William Aberhart High School, is doing "extraordinarily well," according to Davis.
Medical staff were initially worried about brain damage but he's since been cleared of that, said the pastor. Carr will have some facial scars and has therapy ahead.
Mark Lyons has been identified as another victim and his condition is unknown.
A funeral has been planned for the Caldwell twins on Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Centre Street Church. The public is welcome.