Sarah Hunter, a UVic student who survived the mid-Island bus crash on Friday, started a petition to fix the road where the bus rolled over. (Sarah Hunter/change.org)

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds 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 a bus crash on Friday night is asking the federal government to fix the road where the rollover occurred on Vancouver Island.

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: Two killed after bus crashes taking university students to Bamfield

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.”

READ ALSO: Hundreds gather to reflect and remember UVic students killed in bus crash

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.

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

Just Posted

Jumbo Valley to be protected, ending decades-long dispute over proposed ski resort

Development rights permanently retired for site of proposed year-round ski resort west of Invermere

FedEx distribution centre coming to Castlegar

Development permit for ground facility before council next week.

Kootenay teams heading for curling provincials

Team Buchy and Team Nichols won the senior playdowns.

Trust delivers social grants, several in Trail and Rossland

Columbia Basin Trust supports 31 projects with $680,000 in social grants

Hospital in Trail goes from zero to 100!

Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital is one of 4 service hospitals operating in Interior Health

VIDEO: Cold snap brings ideal conditions for Okanagan icewine

Take an inside look at how icewine is made

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Most Read