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A tourist boat sinks off the coast of Tofino, British Columbia. Image courtesy of CBC

Tour boast sinks off the coast of British Columbia

Rescue workers continued to search the waters off the coast of Tofino, British Columbia following a tour boat sinking on Sunday. The boat, known as the MV Leviathan II, was carrying 27 passengers.

So far, there have been five fatalities as a result of the accident and one passengers is still reported as missing.

According to the CBC, the boat was a vessel used for whale watching expeditions.

Witnesses say that when the boat sank, it was far enough from the coast that it could not be seen.

“You could see the smaller boats going back and forth to try and help bring people back to shore,” witness Rami Touffaha told reporters. “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.”

Several locals have said that the area in which the Leviathan II was sailing through can be very tricky to navigate, even if weather and sailing conditions are good.

“You have the ocean currents running by the coast here, and the tides running out,” Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation member Joe Martin said, “Also the tide from the inlet is running out, and it all kind of meets up in that place and it makes it really rough.”

In addition to the tricky currents, the area also has a shallow reef and sharp rocks that make it more difficult to navigate. This was not the Leviathan’s first time navigating these waters.

The Leviathan II is owned and operated by tourist company Jamie’s Whaling Station & Adventure Centres.

Rescue efforts began on Sunday, lasting well into the night and continuing on Monday. Search coordinators have requested a military helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft to aid in the search efforts. So far, two Canadian Coast Guard vessels have been sent to help with rescue efforts as well as several other vessels from locals and RCMP officials.

As of today, three investigators from the Transportation Safety Board are en-route to Tofino to investigate the accident.

About Jillian Gordon

Jillian is a writer from Edmonton, Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Alberta and loves all sorts of cultural phenomena. In addition to writing, Jillian's hobbies include photography and playing roller derby.