At least 5 dead as tour boat with 27 aboard sinks off Canadian coast

At least five people have been killed and one is still missing after a whale-watching tour boat with 27 passengers onboard sunk off the coast of Tofino, British Columbia, officials from the Canadian Coroners Service said.

Twenty-one people have already been rescued. Eighteen are currently being treated at Tofino General Hospital, while three people have been sent to larger facilities.

“There are fatalities involved and survivors. We are also conducting a search to confirm that we have recovered everybody,” said the rescue center as quoted by Reuters.

“Multiple but we don’t yet have a firm number. Still a very fluid situation so we really are not sure yet,” British Columbia Coroner spokeswoman Barb McLintock told AP in an email. 

Rescue center said that the vessel had made a mayday call shortly before 4 pm local time.

Reports suggest that weather conditions were good and the waters were calm.

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A witness at the scene said that the vessel was far from the shore and couldn’t be seen by naked eye.

“You could see the smaller boats going back and forth to try and help bring people back to shore,” Rami Touffaha told CBS news.

He added that everything possible was being done to rescue the survivors. “There was about three ambulances down at the dock,” he said. “I think that’s pretty much all of Tofino’s resources.”

The vessel was operated by a local company, Jamie’s Whaling Station and Adventure Centres, which offers whale-watching tours popular in the area.

Local media has reported that the boat which sank is a three-deck cruiser named the MV “Leviathan II,” the largest in the company’s fleet.

Tofino is a district located on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It has a population of nearly 2,000 people.