Search and rescue crews and RCMP helped a tow-truck crew to remove the bus from the ditch on Sept. 14. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

Bus crash survivor petitions Justin Trudeau to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

A student from the University of Victoria who survived the mid-Island bus crash on Friday night is asking the government to fix the road where the rollover occurred.

Sarah Hunter started a petition to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on change.org asking for something to be done to improve the 85-kilometre logging road between Port Alberni and Bamfield.

Hunter remembers the bus teetering and passengers screaming as the vehicle fell onto its side on the Carmanah Main Junction gravel road and slid 20 feet down the embankment just after 10 p.m. on Sept. 13. Of the 48 passengers, 17 were taken to hospital. Two 18-year-old first year biology students, Emma Machado and John Geerdes, were killed.

READ ALSO: UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

As of Wednesday morning, more than 3,250 people had signed Hunter’s petition. The road conditions have long been a concern for folks who use the route regularly and it’s frequently used to take students to the Bamfield Marine Science Centre for research trips.

The Huu-ay-aht First Nation have been pushing various levels of government to improve the road for years. In a statement released on Sept. 14, Chief Coun. Robert Dennis Sr. commended the first responders and to the City of Port Alberni for the quick action taken after the crash. He also noted that the incident highlights the need for safety improvements.

“Safety on this road is one of our primary concerns as a Nation,” said Dennis Sr. who was at the scene helping after the crash. “Too many lives have already been lost.”

Hunter noted that the bus driver was experienced, but that their skills were no match for the darkness, rain and poor road conditions. She believes the lack of action taken by the government is what led to the fatal incident.

“[This] dangerous road is used a primary route of transportation to bus large numbers of teenagers and young adults with all the known associated risk factors, and no one seems to care enough to do anything,” says Hunter.

She hopes the community will join forces to push the provincial and federal governments to fix the road to guarantee safety.

“It was only a matter of time before something like this happened, and I hope that everyone feels strongly enough to spark change so that it may never happen again.”

The RCMP and Transport Canada are investigating the cause of the incident and it’s important to allow that process happen.

READ ALSO: POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

In a statement, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said the issue is complex because the road is not owned by the province, and was designed and built for industrial use.

“Bamfield Main road is a private industrial road operated and maintained by private companies for active forestry operations,” a ministry representative said.

“Government has previously met with the Huu-ay-aht First Nation on several occasions to discuss their proposals for potential modifications to the road. Government will continue to discuss this with the Huu-ay-aht First Nation and other stakeholders.”


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

car crashUniversity of VictoriaUVic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Food safety a good practice amid COVID-19 concerns

BC Centre for Disease Control offers useful food safe information for households

Sidney’s top emergency official says he is not aware of any COVID-19 cases in the community

The public Sunday also heard of future plans to help local businesses through tax deferments

Digitization of Peninsula News Review by Sidney Museum and Archives preserves historical legacy

Searchable database will ease research and preserve integrity of records

COVID-19: Victoria plumbing company dedicates van for grocery delivery

The Super Plumber uses van to pick up groceries for those in need during COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

Most Read