Two University of Victoria students were killed and three others were taken to hospital in critical or serious condition after a bus rollover between Port Alberni and Bamfield Friday night.

The charter bus was travelling on a gravel road near the Carmanah Main Junction on Bamfield Main, making its way to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre when it went off the roadway and down an embankment.

The bus was carrying 48 people, including the driver.

University of Victoria President Jamie Cassels issued a statement confirming two students at succumbed to the crash.

“It is with profound sadness and deep regret that I inform you that two students have passed away as a result of a bus crash mid-Island on the way to the Bamfield Marine Science Centre,” said Cassels.”Our heartfelt thoughts go out to the students’ families and loved ones, to whom we offer our sincerest condolences. We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community, including roommates, friends, classmates and professors who were in contact with them during their time on campus.”

The university is offering counselling and other support to the students and others in the university community who might be affected.

The two deceased were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Port Alberni Fire Department. Their indenties have not been released.

Victoria-based Wilson’s Transportation confirmed it was their bus in the accident and released the following statement:

One of our buses was involved in an incident while travelling to Bamfield Ecological Station. Our immediate concern is with the passengers, the driver and their families. Management and ownership is working with authorities and the University of Victoria to address those immediate concerns. Details are unclear at this point and as such we are unable to answer any further questions at this time.”

The company said it would release more information once available.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by the RCMP.