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.
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
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