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

‘Unusual smell in water’ not a health concern, says City of Abbotsford

Odour is just temporary due to treatment-plant maintenance, city says

‘Agitated’ man pulls out knife on 3 people in Abbotsford

Witnesses sought for incident on Monday night near city hall

Man charged with hit-and-run that killed pedestrian in Abbotsford

Man in his 50s died after being struck by vehicle on Highway 11 in October 2019

Fraser Valley Bandits reflect on 2020 turnaround

Abbotsford-based CEBL team goes from worst to almost first at Summer Series

Vedder River gets reprieve from gravel removal this summer

Applications withdrawn by river management committee and process concluded for 2020

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Displaced tenant ‘heartbroken’ to find Langley City condo robbed after fire

Wedding rings of Michelle Buchan’s have since been recovered, but much is still missing

Canucks fan risks life to celebrate at Surrey intersection

‘All fun and games until somebody falls out an open side door of the van’

FoodMesh taking its emergency food recovery project nationwide

Pilot project in Chilliwack helped show that food surpluses could be diverted to charities in need

Most Read