John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in a bus crash near Bamfield on Vancouver Island on Sept. 13, 2019. His teammates and friends in his hometown of Iowa City are remembering him as a “kind, intelligent, talented and special human being.” (Facebook/John Geerdes)

U.S. student killed in Bamfield bus crash remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

One of the two University of Victoria students killed in a bus crash at Bamfield near Port Alberni is being remembered as a bright light and strong athlete.

READ ALSO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

John Geerdes, 18, from Iowa City, Iowa, was identified on Facebook by the men’s soccer team at Iowa City High School, where he graduated in May. His coach described him as a kind, intelligent, and talented.

“Can’t explain the pain and sorrow our community has for this loss and the personal devastation for all of us who will always love John,” said head coach Jose Michel Fajardo.

Principal John Bacon said he emailed parents and students on Saturday after learning about the crash, and a crisis team will be at the school to provide counselling.

Geerdes had four siblings, Bacon said, including a sister at the school of 1,600 students, who are now grieving.

Darcy Smith, a fellow UVic student, said he met Geerdes on move-in day, and the pair became fast friends.

“I just miss having such an amazing friend just down the hall from me,” he wrote. “My love and condolences go out to his family.”

Geerdes and an 18-year-old female student from Winnipeg were killed Friday when the bus they and 46 others were travelling in crashed down a steep embankment on the way to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.

Geerdes and the second student, whose name has not been released, were pronounced dead at the scene. Three other students were airlifted to Victoria General Hospital.

The cause of the rollover remains unclear, though police have ruled out alcohol as a contributing factor.

– with a file from The Canadian Press

READ ALSO: Bamfield Road safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
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

Swim advisory issued at Cadboro Bay beach due to high bacteria levels

Island Health advises against water activities, swimming

UPDATED: Saanich firefighters investigate early morning fire at elementary school

Fire crews remain on scene at Strawberry Vale Elementary

Saanich councillors scurry to ban rat poisons on municipal properties

A ‘small but important first step’ to protect local wildlife, councillor says

No swimming or skating at Juan de Fuca rec centre for now

The Q Centre to reopen starting on July 13

Sidney’s Star Cinema looks to reel in audience with reopening

It’s lights, camera, action — again — for Sidney’s Star Cinema in… Continue reading

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read