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

Mercer Celgar announces 30 days of downtime at Castlegar mill in July

Sawlog stumpage charges on pulpwood and complex stumpage rules some reasons for downtime

Evacuation orders for Duhamel, Salmo-Ymir and Crawford Creek rescinded

RDCK warns public that streams are still dangerous

UPDATE: Flooding prompts evacuation order for part of Broadwater Road in Robson

Evacuation area expanded to include 3966-4019 Broadwater Road

Portion of Broadwater Road in Robson closed due to flooding

Glade Ferry is also experiencing delays due to debris

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

189 homes in Grand Forks area given evacuation orders

Homes are in the Nursery, Grand Forks Airport, Gilpin Rd., Johnson Flats and Granby Rd. areas

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Most Read