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Hundreds attend memorial for Winnipeg teen killed in B.C. bus crash

Photos of Emma Machado are laid out at her celebration of life in Winnipeg on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. .
Photos of Emma Machado are laid out at her celebration of life in Winnipeg on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. . Global News

Hundreds came to celebrate the life of 18-year-old University of Victoria student Emma Machado, who died in a bus crash this month on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Friends and loved ones who came to pay their respects filled a hotel ballroom in Machado’s hometown of Winnipeg. There were so many people attended that many had to stand.

Machado’s mother Ethel MacIntosh described the family as “shattered” by the tragedy.

READ MORE: ‘It was horrific’: B.C. bus crash survivor launches petition to improve deadly road

“We’re a bit set at sea right now. We, (Emma’s sister) Sam, (her father) Joe and I regularly feel profound hopelessness and we cycle into a deep, dark hole. But we will honour Emma’s spirit as we try and move forward,” she said.

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“We’ve felt an outpouring of love for Emma and our family.”

WATCH: Family of student killed in bus crash calls for change

Family of student killed in bus crash calls for change
Family of student killed in bus crash calls for change

Fiona Dunn curled with Machado in a women’s league and remembers her as the funniest person on their team.

“We would always have singalongs and start doing silly dances, whatever song was going through her head at the time,” Dunn said.

Eva Downey curled with Machado too.

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

“It’s just horrible, it’s so sad. But she was so amazing,” Downey said. “She had the best smile, so I’m just always going to think of her smile and how happy she always was.”

In a previous interview with Global News, Machado’s family described her as passionate, hungry for life, and environmentally conscious.

Machado was studying marine biology at the university.

WATCH: Survivor of deadly bus crash speaks out

Survivor of deadly bus crash speaks out
Survivor of deadly bus crash speaks out

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

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Machado and 18-year-old classmate John Geerdes of Iowa City, Iowa, were killed when their charter bus left a privately-maintained logging road en route to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre around 10:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13.

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

Seventeen of the 45 students on the bus were injured.

WATCH: Coverage of B.C. bus crash on Globalnews.ca

The deadly crash remains under investigation by RCMP and the BC Coroners Service, but alcohol has been ruled out as a contributing factor.

The tragedy has sparked a debate about the safety of the logging road, which connects the remote community of Bamfield with Port Alberni and the rest of Vancouver Island.

READ MORE: Community, First Nations leaders to meet with premier about deadly Bamfield road

One survivor of the crash has started a petition calling on leaders to upgrade the route, which carries hundreds of university students to the marine research centre every year.

B.C. Premier John Horgan pledged on Thursday to work on improvements to the 85-kilometre gravel road.

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