The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has released preliminary findings of its ongoing investigation into Sunday’s tragic Leviathan II disaster.
At least five of the Leviathan II’s 27 passengers were killed when the whale watching vessel capsized about 8 nautical miles from Tofino and one remains unaccounted for.
In a news release issued Tuesday, the TSB said it has met with local RCMP, interviewed survivors and helped salvage the 65-foot vessel in order to conduct a physical examination.
The TSB’s findings-to-date suggest most of the Leviathan II’s passengers were on the top deck of the vessel, raising its centre of gravity, when a wave hit causing the vessel to broach and then capsize.
The TSB believes one life raft was activated and at least two flares and one parachute rocket were deployed.
Investigators are still trying to recover any electronics onboard the vessel that may hold information about the incident and will review the vessel’s maintenance and inspection records, including life-saving equipment, to determine the condition the Leviathan II was in when the incident occurred.
“It is important to note that this preliminary information should not be used in isolation to draw any conclusions at this time,” the release states. “An accident is the result of a series of factors, and only once all the factors have been reviewed, analyzed and validated, are we able to determine exactly what happened that day.”