Fatalities after Canada whale watching boat sinks with 27 aboard

Rescue personnel mounting a search for victims of a capsized whale watching boat park on a wharf in Tofino, British Columbia.
Reuters

VANCOUVER - Multiple people have died after a whale watching vessel sank off Canada's Pacific coast near Vancouver, officials said Sunday as they searched the waters for victims.

The Coast Guard's Joint Rescue Co-Ordination Center Victoria said there were also survivors from the boat that was traveling off Tofino, a resort town on the westernmost edge of Vancouver Island.

The search continued after dark, with no precise number of rescued people and fatalities available, according to the center, which coordinates coast guard and military rescue crews.

The boat was operated by Jamie's Whaling Station and Adventure Centers and issued a distress signal around 4:00 pm (2300 GMT), according to The Vancouver Sun.

Local media reported the boat that sank is the Leviathan II, a 20-meter (65-foot) covered cruise vessel with three decks. It was one of Jamie's last tours of the season, which ends October 31.

A staff person who answered the phone said the company would not release information until it had cared for the rescued passengers and crew.

Tofino is a popular surfing and whale watching town near the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.