DUNCAN, British Columbia, Oct 25 (Reuters) – A Canadian whale-watching tour boat with 27 passengers on board sank off the coast of British Columbia on Sunday, killing an unknown number of people, rescue officials said.
At least four people have died, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation which cited BC Ambulance. Paramedics said that number could climb, according to the CBC, with four people taken to hospital and another five being treated after being pulled from the water.
A search for survivors was ongoing, according to the Joint Rescue Victoria Coordination Centre in Tofino, British Columbia.
“There are fatalities involved and survivors. We are also conducting a search to confirm that we have recovered everybody,” the rescue center said in a recorded message.
Josie Osborne, the mayor of Tofino, tweeted out her condolences and thoughts for the victims and the ongoing emergency response.
The area is popular for whale-watching tours and the vessel was operated by Jamie’s Whaling Station and Adventure Centres.
The CBC tweeted out confirmation the boat that capsized was a MV Leviathan II, a 65-foot cruiser billed as “Tofino’s largest and most comfortable whale watching vessel” on the company’s website. The three-deck ship holds up to 46 passengers.
“All our attention now is on our passengers and crew so we’ll be providing information as soon as the time is appropriate. That’s all I have to comment right now,” said a staff member, who declined to give his name or the nationalities of the people on board the vessel.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said it would deploy a team to Tofino to investigate. (Writing by Amran Abocar; Editing by Christian Plumb and Nick Macfie)