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

Seeing double at FYi clinic in Comox Valley

From Dr. Myrfield to another at the local optometry practice

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Bevan Road in Cumberland is Valley’s industrial future

Latest plan shows Village’s vision for how the site can grow in years ahead

Oyster River department battles Black Creek house fire

UPDATED: House experiences extensive damage, no one inside at the time

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

Most Read