Search and rescue crews kept searching late into the night for the sunken Leviathan II's 27 passengers. The tragedy claimed at least five lives with one passenger still unaccounted for.

Five confirmed dead in tragic whale watching disaster near Tofino

A 65' whale watching vessel sank near Tofino on Sunday.

A devastating tragedy struck the West Coast on Sunday as a whale watching vessel sank near Tofino claiming the lives of at least five of the 27 passengers on board.

The 65-foot Leviathan II capsized around 5 p.m.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre dispatched a Royal Canadian Air Force Cormorant Helicopter and RCAF Buffalo aircraft to the search area as well as four Canadian Coast Guard Vessels, according to a media release issued by the Department of National Defence/Joint Task Force Pacific.

A wide array of locals assisted with the search and within 30 minutes the vessel was located partially submerged about eight nautical miles from Tofino.

“Of the 27 individuals on board, 21 were rescued, 5 were located with vital signs absent and one remains missing,” the release states.

The search and rescue efforts concluded around 10:45 p.m. and the remaining missing person file was handed over to the RCMP.

The Leviathan II was owned and operated by local wildlife watching company Jamie’s Whaling Station and was the largest vessel in the company’s fleet.

andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

 

Just Posted

Snowbirds fly over Tofino and Ucluelet

“We had front row seats.”

West Coast fishers see empty seas, demand Pacific Salmon Treaty funding

“Right now, if this continues, I think most fishermen will be bankrupt in a couple of years.”

Ucluelet mayor says pipeline and spill response plan both needed

“We are a society that cannot exist without oil and gas and plastics at this point in time.”

Tofino and Ucluelet host youth soccer tournament

Teams from Port Alberni and Nanaimo travel in for one-day sporting event.

Shania Twain visits Canadian Armed Forces base in B.C.

Canadian country icon thanks members of CFB Esquimalt for their service

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Countdown is on to the 2018 B.C. Summer Games

Cowichan Valley hosts on July 19-22

Driving Change: A B.C. man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

B.C. communities await marine spill compensation years after incidents

The government maintains a Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund to compensate Canadians

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Most Read