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Old 26-10-15, 17:23   #1
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Canada Flag PhOtOs -Whale Watching Boat Capsizes in Canada

5 Dead, 1 Missing After Whale Watching Vessel Sinks off Tofino, B.C.

27 people on board at time of accident, 18 sent to hospital

CBC News, BC, 26 October 2015

The BC Coroners Service says five people have died after a whale watching vessel sank off the coast of Tofino, B.C., Sunday, while 18 were sent to hospital.

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre confirms that the MV Leviathan II, operated by Jamie's Whaling Station,had 27 people on board when it sank west of Vargas Island.

Of that total, 21 have been rescued, while one person remains missing.

JRCC says the search has been called off while the RCMP will assume responsibility for the person still unaccounted for.

Meanwhile the company, in a Facebook post signed by owner Jamie Bray, says,

"Our entire team is heartbroken over the incident and our hearts go out to the families, friends and loved ones of everyone involved."

The statement goes onto say that the company is co-operating with authorities to find the cause of the accident, and it also thanks the multiple rescuers who helped at sea.

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.

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.

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."

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria confirms that the MV Leviathan II sank off the coast of Tofino, B.C., on Sunday, Oct. 25 with 27 passengers on board. (Jamie's Whaling Station)

Survivors Re-Warmed

Of the 18 victims transferred to hospital, many needed to be warmed by first responders after spending time in the water.
A critical care transport crew arrived to fly two patients to a hospital outside of Tofino.
Meanwhile, BC Ambulance Service says some survivors were treated and warmed up in local residences under the supervision of paramedics.
Tofino General Hospitalonly has 10 acute care beds and five emergency stretchers.
Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne posted a thank-you message on Twitter to all the people who helped in the tragedy as the district's emergency operations centre was activated.

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)

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