The victims of a Vancouver Island bus crash that killed two 18-year-old students have been identified as a woman from Winnipeg and a man from Iowa City, Iowa, according to the RCMP.
The victims’ names are not being released by authorities, but friends and family say they were Emma Machado of Winnipeg and John Geerdes of Iowa City.
Police say the bus, carrying 45 University of Victoria students en route to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, went off a logging road about 40 kilometres south of Port Alberni and rolled around 9:30 p.m. Friday.
Seventeen other people were injured in the crash.
Port Alberni RCMP says the cause of the crash remains under investigation. Police are looking at the potential role of the driver, but say alcohol has been ruled out as a contributing factor in the crash.
The BC Coroners Service is also investigating.
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Mounties say that the driver of a second vehicle that was in the area stayed at the scene to assist victims.
Police were alerted to the crash after a call from a satellite phone registered to the University of Victoria.
UVic president Jamie Cassels released a statement Monday saying the institution had met throughout the weekend with affected students and their families.
“I know many of you share my sense of sorrow following the devastating accident Friday night in which two UVic students were killed and several others were injured,” wrote Cassels.
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“The loss of members of our campus community in any circumstances is distressing. These bright young people were united in their desire to experience the research and learning possibilities on Vancouver Island’s west coast. My heartfelt condolences go out to them and their loved ones.”
The school says it is offering counselling services to students in the wake of the tragedy.
It said it has also opened a space “to gather for quiet reflection” at its Interfaith Chapel until 3 p.m. Monday.
-With files from the Canadian Press and Sean Boynton