Calgary Bobsled Track Visit Ends With Teens' Deaths

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CALGARY — An after-hours visit to a Calgary luge-bobsled track early Saturday resulted in the deaths of two young men and injuries to six others.

Calgary police say emergency crews received a 911 call from an employee at the WinSport Canada facility in northwest Calgary at 1:30 a.m. after a report of several injured people on a closed track.

"They used their personal sled/toboggan in an attempt to go down the bobsled track,'' Insp. Kelly Campbell said. "Part way down they hit a large gate that's used to separate the luge and the bobsled track.

"We're working to determine how they entered the property, what led up to the decision to enter the closed track. We don't have a lot of details as to what really went on other than they went down the track and several were injured and two were deceased.''

canada olympic park calgary bobsled deaths
A tarp covers the intersection of the bobsled and luge tracks at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary on Saturday. (Photo: Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press)

Police brought in the a traffic reconstruction unit to help in the investigations.

A couple of police vehicles remained at the top of the bobsleigh hill Saturday afternoon — the area blocked off with yellow police tape and the road closed to the general public. A few hundred metres away skiers were taking advantage of the warm weather to get in some runs.

"They thought initially there was one person. But they found a group of males in their late teens quite injured."

An EMS official said the location of the accident made it difficult for the first paramedic team to arrive due to slippery conditions and poor lighting.

"They thought initially there was one person. But they found a group of males in their late teens quite injured. They were able to triage and assess all of them in a timely fashion. Unfortunately they had to determine two of them deceased on scene,'' said EMS Public Education Officer Adam Loria.

canada olympic park calgary bobsled deaths
Police seal off access to the bobsled and luge track area at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary on Saturday. An after-hours visit to a Calgary luge-bobsled track resulted in the deaths of two young men and injuries to six others. Calgary police say emergency crews were called to the WinSport facility in northwest Calgary at 1:30 a.m. after a report of several injured people on a closed track. (Photo: Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press)

"Obviously it was a difficult situation at the time and two people were determined deceased on scene here and unfortunately given the injuries sustained there was no resuscitation put forth.''

Loria said an additional six ambulances had to be called in. Three of the injured were sent to hospital with serious soft tissue injuries and the remainder received minor bumps and bruises. None of the injuries are considered to be life-threatening.

WinSport Canada owns and operates Canada Olympic Park, which hosted events during the 1988 Winter Olympics. Several World Cup events are held at the site as well.

Barry Heck, WinSport's president and CEO, told reporters the organization is co-operating with the police investigation as well as conducting its own review.

Heck said measures are taken to make sure the park is secure and noted there are two security guards on duty at night.

"I've heard of incidents of people coming into the park. I do not personally know of any incidents of people being on the sliding track,'' Heck said at a news conference on Saturday evening.

barry heck winsport calgary bobsled
WinSport President & CEO Barry Heck comments on the incident in which two teenagers died and six were injured after attempting to use a makeshift sled on the bobsled/luge track during the early morning hours at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary on Saturday. (Photo: Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press)

Jeff Hughes lives across the street from the beginning of the bobsled run. He said over the years there are often people hanging out around the facility but nothing like this.

"Does it surprise me that there's teenagers out there looking at having fun on a Friday night and do something that's a little bit reckless? No, because I've been there,'' said Hughes.

"But obviously it's unbelievably tragic that it ended this way and I'm certainly surprised that something so awful could happen.''

Insp. Campbell said the teens involved in the incident ranged in age from 16 to 19 years old. She said due to the injuries there is no immediate word on their identities.

"Obviously it's unbelievably tragic that it ended this way."

Campbell said it might have been a spur of the moment decision.

"I can imagine it probably sounded good at the time but absolutely it's a tragic thing and nobody wants something like that to happen or thinks something like that's going to happen.''

With files from Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton

Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

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Two teens dead, six injured in incident at Calgary bobsled park