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Winnipeg teen killed in B.C. bus crash was hungry for life, says family

WATCH ABOVE: Calls for change after deadly bus crash

The family of one of two teens killed in a bus crash on Vancouver Island is remembering her as an adventurous spirit who hoped to help change the world.

It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime for Emma Machado.

The 18-year-old aspiring biologist from Winnipeg was so keen on visiting Bamfield’s Marine Sciences Centre, she’d gotten up early to make sure she got on the University of Victoria field trip’s sign-up list.

Emma Machado of Winnipeg has been identified as one of two people killed in a bus crash on Vancouver Island on Friday.
Emma Machado of Winnipeg has been identified as one of two people killed in a bus crash on Vancouver Island on Friday. CREDIT: Emma Machado / Facebook

Instead, it ended in tragedy when the bus carrying 45 students left a logging road about 40 kilometres south of Port Alberni Friday night, killing her and John Geerdes, a fellow 18-year-old student from Iowa City, Iowa. Seventeen other students were sent to hospital.

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READ MORE: Winnipeg, Iowa teens identified as victims of fatal Vancouver Island bus crash

“She was really excited to be by the ocean, to live the island life, to get to be somewhere that really cares about the environment,” Machado’s sister Sam told Global News by phone from Winnipeg.

“She really wanted to make a difference for the environment, she was really passionate about conservation.”

WATCH BELOW: B.C. bus crash tragedy

B.C. bus crash tragedy
B.C. bus crash tragedy

Machado’s father Jose and mother Ethel MacIntosh remember their daughter as strong-willed, adventurous and keen to see where her life would take her.

“She was very generous, very passionate about her interests,” MacIntosh said.

“She really wanted to go out there in life and make friends and experience everything she could.

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READ MORE: Officials, drivers call for safety overhauls to remote B.C. road where bus crash killed 2

“She got out to meet people, made a lot of friends quite easily,” her father added.

“She was quite active in terms of music, played the drums, and [she was] involved in volunteer activities both after school, at school and the museum here.”

Machado had only been in B.C. since Sept. 1, but had quickly made friends and was settling into college life, her parents said.

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The family had been slated to check in with her on Sunday night about her adventure to the West Coast.

WATCH BELOW: 9 years before fatal B.C. bus crash, Edmonton teens were stranded on same remote road

9 years before fatal B.C. bus crash, Edmonton teens were stranded on same remote road
9 years before fatal B.C. bus crash, Edmonton teens were stranded on same remote road

Instead, on Saturday morning, they were greeted with the scene every parent dreads.

“The city police showed up at the door on Saturday morning, around 11 a.m.,” Jose said.

“They told us that the RCMP would be calling us… [and] that they’re pretty sure that she was one of the victims that had been killed in the accident,” MacIntosh said.

READ MORE: 2 university students dead, 17 hurt following bus rollover on Vancouver Island

“We hadn’t heard anything about it. We hadn’t tried to text her. You know, just kind of giving her space. So we were completely shocked.”

Sam was still in Halifax, where she attends university, meaning the family had to deliver the grim news over the phone.

“My mom called one of my friends I guess, just to make sure that I wasn’t alone,” Sam said.

“And then I was trying to get home as fast as possible.”

WATCH BELOW: Road safety questioned after fatal bus crash near Bamfield

Road safety questioned after fatal bus crash near Bamfield
Road safety questioned after fatal bus crash near Bamfield

The tragedy has also left the family with questions.

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“My main question after watching the news is why the bus had to leave that evening for the road trip,” Jose said.

“My understanding is companies in Port Alberni will not drive that road after dark, they only do their driving during the daylight hours.”

READ MORE: 2 university students dead, 17 hurt following bus rollover on Vancouver Island

The family said they believe wet and stormy conditions in the area may also have contributed to the collision.

Police are looking at any potential role the driver may have had in the crash, but said alcohol has been ruled out as a contributing factor.

The BC Coroners Service is also investigating.

The devastated family is preparing to come to British Columbia on Tuesday to collect their daughter and bring her home for a celebration of life on the weekend.

MacIntosh said they’re also hoping to meet some of Machado’s college friends who want to share memories, and plan to participate in a gathering at the university.

“She’ll be with us forever,” MacIntosh said.