Whales off the coast of Vancouver Island, where a tragedy has struck. (Photo: Jamie’s Whale Watching)
A whale-watching boat with 27 people aboard has sunk off the coast of Canada on Sunday, leaving at least four people dead.
The 65-foot cruiser, Leviathan II, is operated by Jamie’s Whale Watching and went down near Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Jamie’s offers tours of the area on 65-foot cruisers and smaller zodiac-style inflatable boats.
The capsized boat. (Photo: Shelby Thom/Twitter)
Multiple boats and divers, including the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, are searching the area around Plover Point.
Rami Touffaha, who owns Burnaby Tours and Charters, told British Columbia’s CBC News that it was a sunny day in Tofino and “the waters weren’t choppy so I don’t see what could have caused the boat to sink, but you never know in these waters unfortunately.”
The rescue scene near the area where the whale-watching boat sank. (Photo: Burnaby Tours and Charters/Twitter)
John Forde, of the Tofino Whale Centre told Canada’s Global News the same: “The sea was [9.8 to 13 feet], a fairly big sea, but not much wind or too unusual for the conditions we deal with on a regular basis out here.”
According to Forde, on a ship the size of the Leviathan II, passengers wouldn’t be required to wear life jackets. “All the open vessels, people on zodiacs or an open style…everybody is in a Mustang floater suit or a survival suit, but the larger vessels, you’re just required to have life jackets on board, just like BC ferries,” Forde said.
A photo of the Leviathan II, which sank on Sunday. (Photo: Jamie’s Whale Watching)
Local fishing guide Lance Desilets, who runs Lance’s Sport Fishing Adventures, said Plover Point is a popular spot for boats to stop and observe marine life. “My guess is they were watching sea lions. I guess they got too close and hit the rocks,” he told the Globe and Mail.
This is not the first whale-watching tragedy to happen in the area. In 1998, another boat from the same company sank near Tofino, killing a German tourist and the ship’s captain.
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