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Youngest Oregon victim was here to learn English

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

The youngest person killed when a Vancouver-bound tour bus crashed in Oregon on Sunday had come to Canada to learn English and take in the culture, a friend of the 11-year-old girl’s family said.

Youmin Kim had been staying with a Vancouver family the past several weeks. She’d visited Canada once before as a toddler.

“She kind of saw me as an older sister,” said Michelle Albiston, whose parents hosted the Kim family in Vancouver. “I would tell her a bunch of times, Koreans have this thing where if you greet an elder you have to bow, to forget about that here … She’s a very polite girl.

“I came by a couple of times each week to teach her English. She was very quiet, not very talkative at all. Very shy.”

Albiston’s mother and sister accompanied Kim on the Las Vegas tour and remain in Oregon to deal with the death and insurance issues. Kim's parents have since arrived from Korea.

Nine people were killed and 39 were injured when the bus crashed Dec. 30.

“The most tragic part of (Youmin’s) death is that she will never get to experience graduation, prom, getting married or having kids,” Albiston said.

“Being a parent myself, I feel for her parents’ grief … though I will never understand exactly what they are going through.”

Despite speaking little English, Youmin was a big Justin Bieber fan, Albiston added.


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