The bus involved in a crash on Bamfield Road on Friday, Sept. 13 is towed away from the scene. PHOTO COURTESY CTV NEWS VANCOUVER ISLAND

Several factors led to deadly bus crash on Bamfield Road: RCMP report

No blame placed in RCMP analyst’s technical report

A narrow logging road, headlights from an oncoming vehicle and seatbelts that weren’t used combined to create a deadly situation on Bamfield Road last September, says an RCMP report.

Two University of Victoria students died and another person was critically injured on Sept. 13 when a Wilson’s Transportation bus carrying 48 people rolled over an embankment on Bamfield Road near the Carmanah Main Junction on a stormy night. The bus was heading to Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.

READ: UVic students killed in Bamfield bus crash were from Winnipeg, Iowa City

The RCMP report is part of the investigation into the crash, according to the Victoria Times-Colonist, with whom the report was shared. It is not a final report; it contains information on the speed of the bus, road conditions and how the students probably died.

Emma MacIntosh Machado, 18, from Winnipeg and John Geerdes, 18, of Iowa City, Iowa, both died in the crash. A collision analyst interviewed by the Times-Colonist said both students were thrown out a window and pinned when the bus toppled and rolled over the embankment. Neither of them were apparently wearing seatbelts at the time.

The bus had been travelling uphill at approximately 37 kilometres per hour just before the crash, and is not considered a contributing factor to the accident, according to the collision analyst.

An oncoming vehicle approached downhill from the opposite direction and the bus moved slightly to the right just when the road was narrowing, causing the tires on the right side to hit the soft shoulder and the bus to topple over.

While the report has been forwarded to both Transport Canada and the BC Coroners Service, neither organization was willing to comment on it, saying the RCMP is leading the investigation. The Alberni Valley News has reached out to the RCMP for comment.

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