John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in a bus crash near Bamfield on Vancouver Island on Sept. 13, 2019. His teammates and friends in his hometown of Iowa City are remembering him as a “kind, intelligent, talented and special human being.” (Facebook/John Geerdes)

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

One of the two University of Victoria students killed in a bus crash at Bamfield near Port Alberni is being remembered as a bright light and strong athlete.

READ ALSO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

John Geerdes, 18, from Iowa City, Iowa, was identified on Facebook by the men’s soccer team at Iowa City High School, where he graduated in May. His coach described him as a kind, intelligent, and talented.

“Can’t explain the pain and sorrow our community has for this loss and the personal devastation for all of us who will always love John,” said head coach Jose Michel Fajardo.

Principal John Bacon said he emailed parents and students on Saturday after learning about the crash, and a crisis team will be at the school to provide counselling.

Geerdes had four siblings, Bacon said, including a sister at the school of 1,600 students, who are now grieving.

Darcy Smith, a fellow UVic student, said he met Geerdes on move-in day, and the pair became fast friends.

“I just miss having such an amazing friend just down the hall from me,” he wrote. “My love and condolences go out to his family.”

Geerdes and an 18-year-old female student from Winnipeg were killed Friday when the bus they and 46 others were travelling in crashed down a steep embankment on the way to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.

Geerdes and the second student, whose name has not been released, were pronounced dead at the scene. Three other students were airlifted to Victoria General Hospital.

The cause of the rollover remains unclear, though police have ruled out alcohol as a contributing factor.

– with a file from The Canadian Press

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



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
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

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