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Bus crash that killed two B.C. students was ‘unfortunate, one-off accident’: report

A tow-truck crew removes a bus from an embankment next to a logging road near Bamfield, B.C., on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019.
A tow-truck crew removes a bus from an embankment next to a logging road near Bamfield, B.C., on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

The bus crash that killed two university students last fall on a trip to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre on Vancouver Island was an “unfortunate, one-off accident,” says a new report.

The University of Victoria (UVic) commissioned the independent review after the Sept. 13 crash in a bid to ensuring future trips to the centre are safe.

Emma Machado and John Geerdes, both 18, died when a charter bus went off the logging road and flipped onto its roof down an incline between Port Alberni and the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. Seventeen others were hurt in the crash.

Read more: 2 university students dead, 17 hurt following bus rollover on Vancouver Island

The report states all future UVic trips to Bamfield will include a hazard assessment and control program; travel and arrival during daylight; pre-determined itineraries; an additional satellite communications device; and first aid equipment for the group size.

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UVic said it and others will continue to lobby the government to upgrade what can be a dangerous stretch of road.

“We know this devastating accident has caused immeasurable grief and that the impacts are ongoing for the families of the students who died, and for the other students on the bus and their families. To those who have suffered loss and hardship, the university is profoundly sorry,” UVic president Jamie Cassels said in a release.

“We fully accept the review’s recommendations and are already working diligently to implement them to help prevent an accident like this from ever happening again, to strengthen planning for student trips off campus and to allow us to more effectively respond to critical incidents.”

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

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