Humboldt tragedy stirs fresh memories for Newfoundland skater involved in 2015 bus crash

The tragic Saskatchewan bus crash that took the lives of 15 hockey players has evoked vivid memories for a figure skater from Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

Amber Murrin 1 of 55 skaters and coaches on DRL bus that crashed on Newfoundland highway in February 2015

Fire crews near the emergency hatch of the bus that flipped on the TCH near Grand Falls-Windsor in February 2015. All 55 passengers survived without serious injuries. (Twitter/@FirechiefVince)

The tragic Saskatchewan bus crash that took the lives of 15 people aboard the Humboldt Broncos hockey bus has brought back vivid memories for a figure skater from Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Amber Murrin was one of 55 skaters and coaches on a DRL bus that flipped on the Trans-Canada Highway near Grand Falls-Windsor in February 2015 during a club trip to a provincial tournament.

Many of the skaters suffered injuries; none were considered serious – but the dreadful memories remain.

Amber Murrin was just 16 when the bus her figure skating club was travelling on flipped over on the highway near Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L. (Submitted by Amber Murrin)

"The first thing that went through my mind is 'Were there any survivors? Did anyone make it out?,'" Murrin told the Corner Brook Morning Show.

"Most of the memories that were stirred up for me were the actual images I saw when the bus crashed, and not knowing who made it out. Thankfully we all did and are all still going strong today."

Tragic memories

Now living away from her home in Corner Brook and attending university in New Brunswick, Murrin said seeing the news coverage of the Saskatchewan bus crash immediately brought her back to that frigid night on the side of the Newfoundland highway.

Murrin was just 16 when the crash happened, and still remembers walking around crash site afterward, trying to process what she was seeing.

A bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team crashed into a truck en route to Nipawin, Sask., for a game Friday night killing 14 and sending over a dozen more to the hospital. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

She doesn't remember the ride to the hospital, but said she will never forget seeing the pain on her teammates' faces from their injuries.

"It was kind of surreal when it happened. It didn't feel like it was actually happening," she said.

"I didn't realize what had happened. It felt like it was just a dream so I was trying to help out as much as I can. It's haunting, honestly."

Aftermath of DRL crash

In the months after the DRL crash, Murrin found it difficult to even get on a bus, and knows that other skaters that were on the bus that day are still dealing with the effects of what happened.

Members of the Silver Blades skating club from Corner Brook were inside this bus when it rolled over on the TCH in central Newfoundland in February 2015. (CBC)

Months later when, the club went on another road trip. Murrin was no longer with the group, but knows how hard it was for them to get back on a bus.

"They were all very cautious and they made sure that they had someone they knew driving the bus just to make them comfortable and at ease," she said.

Now with news of the Humboldt tragedy, all she can do is think about how her experience – as shocking as it was – is nothing compared to what the survivors and families of the victims of those in this week's crash are dealing with.

"I just really hope that one day they'll be able to get better and understand what happened," she said. "I really hope they find peace with this as time goes on."

With files from Cherie Wheeler and the Corner Brook Morning Show