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Oxford student dies in tragic bus accident

The DPhil candidate fell from her bike on Botley Road and was run over by a bus

Claudia Comberti, a 31-year-old doctoral student at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, was killed after colliding with a bus on Botley Road on Tuesday.

Detective Sergeant Gavin Collier said: “it is believed that the cyclist sadly fell from her bicycle just prior to the collision. Investigations remain ongoing to establish the cause of the incident, however we do not believe it was as a result of any interaction with another person or vehicle.”

Emotional tributes to Comberti poured in on Wednesday, as a group of more than 100 cyclists rode from Carfax Tower to Seacourt Park and Ride. They were wheeling an empty white bicycle, which together with flowers was placed at the site of the crash.

Sam Chapel, a friend of Comberti’s, said: “There were so many friends that wanted to do something, we thought that was the right thing to do.There were huge crowds. When I looked around at one point I thought it looked like a mini festival. It must have been quite a spectacle.”

Before beginning her DPhil, Camberton had previously worked as a Forests and Wellbeing Researcher at the Global Canopy Programme.

According to the Oxford School of Geography and the Environment, Comberti’s research focused on the “adaptation to climate change in Amazonian Indigenous communities, and the role of human ecosystem interactions and biocultural diversity in supporting resilience and positive responses to environmental change.”

Speaking about her loss, Comberti’s partner, Lucille, said she was a “lovely person” who “still had so much life.

“She knew what she wanted and she was really playful at the same time. She was really restless but she loved being here in Oxford even though her home was in the jungle.”

Phil Southall, managing director of the Oxford Bus Company, said that pursuant to the crash, the bus driver in question was being treated for shock. He further said that it was “far too early to speculate” regarding the cause of the crash. Southall said his company was also helping Thames Valley Police with their investigations.

Police are still appealing for witnesses of the collision, estimated to have taken place at 2.45pm on Tuesday 11 May.

Oxford Bus Comapny has been contacted for comment. The University did not wish to make a statement.

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