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TOFINO, British Columbia – A sudden wave capsized a whale watching boat with 27 people on board off Vancouver Island on Sunday, according to a fisherman who spoke with a survivor of the sinking.
Five British nationals are dead and one Australian man is still missing after the 65-foot Leviathan II capsized in seemingly calm weather about eight nautical miles off Tofino, a popular destination for whale watchers.
"The lady was saying that a wave just capsized them," said Clarence Smith, a local fisherman who was among the first rescuers on the scene. "That's why there weren't any communications on the radio, no mayday."
It wasn't the first fatal accident on the whale watching company's record. In 1998 one of its vessels capsized during an excursion, sending all four people on board into the water. The operator and a passenger died. Bray said that vessel was struck by a rogue wave but said the latest incident involved a much larger boat.
originally posted by: AccessDenied
This story seems to be the highlight all over the news up here in Canada. I've seen the footage of the boat, and the interviews with some of those first on scene. Apparently it was calm waters, no earthquake activity, however they were in an area that was rocky and had some reefs. I would assume because this was a tour company that they knew the area well enough to avoid running aground but perhaps not. There is wide speculation about how it all happened, and it seems nobody is really saying anything. If I had to throw my theory out there, I'd say maybe a whale got too close or even under the boat ( can happen) and flipped them. If that were the case, of course they would keep it hush hush. Just like here in Nova Scotia, if the tourists think there is a chance they might get thrown into the drink by the thing they will pay top dollar to photograph, there goes an entire tourist industry. Tofino, being the small destination it is...likely needs the whale tours as a large tourist draw.