UVic says it has implemented recommendations after fatal bus crash near Bamfield

The University of Victoria says it has met all the recommendations put forth in the wake of a 2019 bus crash that killed two students and injured several others during a field trip to a remote Vancouver Island marine science centre.

A coach bus carrying 45 students and two teaching assistants slid off a logging road between Port Alberni and Bamfield on Sept. 13, 2019. The crash claimed the lives of Emma Machado, 18, of Winnipeg, and John Geerdes, 18, of Iowa.

An independent consultant was hired and developed 43 recommendations for the school to follow during future field trips to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.

The university said Wednesday it has implemented all of the recommendations except for those that involve visiting the marine centre, which has been closed to field trips during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our community will never forget what happened,” said UVic president Kevin Hall in a statement Wednesday. “We’ve learned so much over these past years and we’re grateful to those who have been closely involved in the review process and implementation of the recommendations.”

Hall said the university is “doing everything we can to prevent an accident like this from ever happening again.”

Among the recommendations in the consultant’s report are the development of new emergency response protocols for off-campus events and the continued advocacy for safety improvements to the Bamfield Main Road.

The university has released a final report on its work to implement the recommendations.

Last September, the province and the Huu-ay-aht First Nation signed an agreement to spend $30 million to upgrade the road where the crash occurred.