'We just want her here with us': Family identifies Winnipeg woman as victim of B.C. bus crash
Beth Macdonell, CTV News Winnipeg
Published Monday, September 16, 2019 9:30PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, September 18, 2019 10:22PM CST
A Winnipeg family has identified one of the two students killed in a B.C. bus crash as 18-year-old Emma Machado, a first-year University of Victoria student.
“We’re struggling,” said Emma’s father, Jose Machado, in a phone call with CTV News Monday night.
“We have moments when we are okay and then we break down.”
Jose said he learned of his daughter’s death Saturday morning when police showed up at their home.
“They said she died in an accident,” he said.
The crash happened Friday night. The bus carrying students was headed to the Bamfield Marine Science Centre.
The family said the coroner told them Emma and the other student who died were sitting towards the back of the bus.
The bus rolled off a logging road, down into a ravine and ended up upside down, they said.
Emma’s mother Ethel MacIntosh said the family is travelling to Victoria Tuesday morning where they'll meet with RCMP, pick up their daughter’s body and collect personal items from her dorm.
“She was super excited about the field trip because that was her interest, marine biology,” she said.
“We miss her. We just want her here with us,” she said.
Both parents said the past few days have been awful. They had to tell their other daughter, Samantha, who is studying at university in Halifax,about Emma’s death over the phone,.
Close family members are remembering Emma has an outgoing, intelligent and talented teen.
"She is the youngest in the family, but she was very assertive and a voice that needed to be heard," said MacIntosh. "She was a very generous person, lovable, loved life. She had lots of interests, she liked music, played the drums and guitar and liked her tattoos."
Sister Samantha, 20, said she will miss Emma very much.
"We had a lot of plans," she said. "She was smart and really funny and had a lot of friends."
Emma's dad said she was on the path to become a marine biologist.
"That's why she was going out to her Victoria, it met her goals. She loved the climate, island life, made lots of friends, kept them. Just an outgoing individual," Jose said.
Questions surrounding fatal crash
The family has been researching as much as they can about the crash and still has many questions.
They said the trip’s schedule should have been better organized so they were not driving in the dark, and perhaps organizers need to be more selective if the weather is bad.
“I think the students should be advised ‘this next stretch of road is bad,’ ‘put on your seatbelt’”, said MacIntosh.
The family doesn’t know yet if Emma was wearing a seatbelt.
“It may have made a difference,” MacIntosh said.
The family said a celebration of Emma’s life is planned for Sunday at Canad Inns Polo Park from 1-3 p.m. The location was changed from Canad Inns Fort Garry as the family anticipates a number of people to attend. All are welcome.
Officals on fatal crash
CTV News reached to the University of Victoria about the schedule of the trip and its policies.
A spokesperson said in an email the fall field trip has been offered for at least 18 years and is optional. The bus leaves the university after other classes and labs.
The RCMP is investigating the crash.
Police said in a news release Monday there was a second vehicle in the area at the time of the collision, which stayed at the scene and provided assistance.
Alcohol has been ruled out as a contributing factor.
Claire Trevena is B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“Ministry officials have been looking into the issue to determine if safety improvements could be made. The situation is complex as this is a private, industrial road, operated and maintained by private companies for active forestry operations,” she said in an email to CTV Vancouver Monday.
The bus company, The Wilson's Group said in a statement to CTV News Winnipeg, the bus that crashed was recently inspected and passed all requirements and the driver was experienced, with driver training certification.
“This is the first incident of this magnitude that we have ever experienced. We are all shocked by this. Rest assured that we are doing everything in our power to assist those affected,” the company said.