Whale Watching Boat Capsizes Killing 5, Rouge Wave Blamed (PHOTO)

Most of the passengers and crew on the whale-watching boat that capsized near Tofino, B.C., on Sunday appear to have been on one side of the vessel’s top deck when it was hit by a wave, the Transportation Safety Board said at a news conference in Tofino.

“This would have raised the centre of gravity, affecting the vessel’s stability,” said Marc-André Poisson, the TSB’s director of marine investigations.

 He said the vessel then rolled and capsized.

“None of this preliminary information should be used in isolation to draw any conclusions at this point,” said Poisson.

Poisson said four TSB investigators have interviewed the crew and some of the survivors of the ship since arriving Monday on the scene, and have been working closely with the RCMP.

Original Story Below:

Tofino tour boat sank

A whale watching boat carrying 27 people sank Sunday night off Vancouver Island, leaving at least five dead a person remains missing, but 21 people were saved.

The spokesman for the Joint Coordination Centre rescue operations, Lieutenant Commander Desmond Craig, confirmed the results early Monday morning.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were called in to try to locate the missing person.

This photograph of the MV Leviathan II was shot by Albert Titian as Ahousaht First Nation boats scrambled to help those forced into the water as the ship sank. (Albert Titian/Facebook)
This photograph of the MV Leviathan II was shot by Albert Titian as Ahousaht First Nation boats scrambled to help those forced into the water as the ship sank. (Albert Titian/Facebook)

The Canadian Coast Guard, local water taxi companies, the Ahousaht First Nation and other private vessels all helped in the search.

“Several members of Ahousaht First Nation bravely went out in their motor vessels in the waters near Tofino,” Rob Bullock of the Ahousaht First Nation said in a release.

The boat had launched a distress call shortly before 16 pm near Tofino, according to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre operations. The weather was not involved because it was a clear and sunny day.

John Forde of the Whale Centre, another company that makes whale watching in the area, explained that it was a boat of 20 meters, the Leviathan II, operated by Jamie’s Whaling Station and Adventure centers. He said he did not know what happened.

Weather moderate

“Weather conditions were moderate, with cloud, some wind and light rain. However the waters on the west side of Vargas Island can be unpredictable.”

John Forde, who owns the Tofino Whale Centre and is a captain at the local fire department, was on a hot springs tour with customers when he heard about the MV Leviathan II.

Tofino tour boat sank
Tofino tour boat sank

He changed course to help with the search and said, upon arriving, that he saw the vessel all but submerged.

“It was quite close to the rocks and you could still see part of the vessel above water,” he said. “There was a lot of injured and hypothermic people being brought in Ahousaht water taxis, at least a dozen boats out there if not more.”

Not The First Incident Involving The Company

It is not the first accident involving that company. In 1998, one of its boats capsized during an excursion, throwing all four people on board into the water. The boat operator and a passenger were killed.

The Office of the Canadian Transportation Safety Board (TSB) sent a team of investigators to Tofino to investigate Sunday’s incident.

Sean is a London (Ontario) based writer, and has been writing full-time for eCanadaNow since May of 2005, covering Canadian topics and world issues. Since 2009, Sean has been the lead editor for eCanadaNow. Prior to his work writing and editing for the eCanadaNow, he worked as a freelancer for several Canadian newspapers.. You can contact Sean at {Sean at ecanadanow.com] Google