A tow-truck crew removes a bus from an embankment next to a logging road near Bamfield, B.C., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Bus carrying Victoria students crashed after it moved for another vehicle: police

Two 18-year-old students were killed in the Sept. 14, 2019 crash in Bamfield

A bus loaded with University of Victoria students moved over for an oncoming vehicle just as a logging road narrowed before it rolled over in September, killing two students, a police crash analyst says.

The Mounties used a 3-D scanner and the event data recorder on the bus to piece together the crash, said RCMP Sgt. Brian Nightingale, a crash reconstructionist.

It was dark and raining on Sept. 13 when the bus was travelling on a gravel road, Nightingale said in an interview on Tuesday.

When a Jeep came down a hill towards the bus the driver pulled onto the soft shoulder and then the bus rolled down an embankment, he added.

“He starts to pull to the right and at that precise moment, the roadway width decreases from 10.8 metres to 9.2 metres wide,” Nightingale said.

“He still had enough room, but he makes his adjustment right at the same time when the road is narrowing and that’s the bottom line right there.”

The bus hit the soft shoulder on the gravel logging road and rolled onto its roof, resting about three metres below the road, he said. Thick trees along the road prevented the bus from going any further down the steep embankment, Nightingale said.

Forty five students and two teaching assistants were on the bus that was going to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, about 40 kilometres from Port Alberni.

Two students, Emma MacIntosh Machado of Winnipeg and John Geerdes of Iowa City, Iowa, died in the crash. They were both 18 years old.

After the crash, First Nations and the city of Port Alberni said there had been numerous complaints about the condition of the privately owned logging road. They called on the provincial government to improve the conditions on the 85-kilometre road.

Nightingale said there were no road markings but there’s no indication that either vehicle was on the wrong side of the road.

He said the bus had been travelling at about 30 km/h along the road but just before the rollover the bus had slowed to seven km/h.

Nightingale said whether seatbelts were being worn did not form part of his investigation.

“The bus was equipped with seatbelts, seatbelts were available. Injuries are mitigated when seatbelts are being worn. That’s always been my experience from Day 1.”

Nightingale said the report has been given to the BC Coroners Service as part of the police investigation but its findings don’t determine any criminal or civil liability.

READ MORE: Bamfield Road safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash

Andy Watson of the BC Coroners Service said its investigation into the two deaths remains open and it will allow other investigations into the crash to be completed before it concludes its probe.

He said the deaths don’t meet the requirements for a mandatory inquest, although the chief coroner does have discretion for reasons of public interest or patterns in deaths to request one.

Terri Theodore, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A passenger bus involved in an accident along a logging road Friday night is carried from the crash scene by a tow-truck near Bamfield, B.C. on Saturday, September 14, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Just Posted

Rent-It Centre takes over curbside collection contract in Tofino and Ucluelet

Rent It Centre’s bid was $25,865 lower than the only other bidder, SonBird Refuse and Recycling.

Tofino’s first cannabis dispensary opens

“I don’t know where it’s going, but happy how it’s gone so far.”

Tofino welcomes much needed veterinarian to town

West Coast has not had a full-time vet since Dr. Jane Hunt surrendered her licence in 2004.

Looking back on the West Coast’s top 10 news stories

Tofino and Ucluelet’s top headlines of 2019.

Regional district looks at plans for Alberni Valley and West Coast landfills

Current plans were created in 2012 and require updating

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

BC Ferries hybrid ships arrive in Victoria on Saturday

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

VIDEO: Ucluelet kids relish snow day on Vancouver Island

“We only get a snow day once a year, maybe.”

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

Most Read