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Whale watching boat overturns off the coast of Tofino


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#1 Mike K.

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 05:39 PM

Coast Guard reports confirm there have been fatalities following a whale watching boat incident. 27 people were aboard the vessel operated by Jamie's Whaling.

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#2 jonny

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 05:49 PM

Apparently the mayday came in from the vessel just before 4pm.

I saw an air ambulance take off from RJH and head off low and fast towards the north west around 4:30. Usually they fly a bit more leisurely but this one was making time. I wonder if the two events were related.

Edited by jonny, 25 October 2015 - 05:50 PM.


#3 Rob Randall

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 05:56 PM

It must be, since there are at least a couple dozen needing treatment but only three ambulances available.

We went whale watching last year up there and it was choppy enough that the operator sheltered for a while in calmer waters. Our smaller craft was pretty stable but Jamie's triple-decker was really rocking.

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#4 Mike K.

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 07:09 PM

It's very different ocean up there, that's for sure.

Four confirmed deaths at this point. And yes, victims were air lifted out but no confirmation of which hospital(s) they were taken to.

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#5 Bingo

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 07:53 PM

It must be, since there are at least a couple dozen needing treatment but only three ambulances available.

We went whale watching last year up there and it was choppy enough that the operator sheltered for a while in calmer waters. Our smaller craft was pretty stable but Jamie's triple-decker was really rocking.

 

If everyone was on the top deck I would think it would become unstable if it got hit broadside with a wave.

Here is an image of the vessel. https://www.jamies.c...65-cruiser.html



#6 Rob Randall

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 08:05 PM

Someone mentioned it hit a rock and sank. Passengers on that boat don't wear survival suits. Four dead and some missing, search is suspended for the night.

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#7 sebberry

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 09:58 PM

It's 5 dead now :( 

How tragic.


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#8 todd

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 09:59 PM

The Canadian Coast Guard Cutters Cape Ann and Cape McKay appear on marinetraffic.com to still be searching at this late hour. 



#9 Mike K.

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 10:16 PM

Social media was abuzz with people criticizing the coast guard. Was there a delay in their arrival, or was a close by station recently closed?

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#10 todd

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 10:26 PM

Apparently the search and rescue effort has ended with one person left missing the file has now been transferred to the RCMP and is now a missing persons case.



#11 todd

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 10:53 PM

Social media was abuzz with people criticizing the coast guard. Was there a delay in their arrival, or was a close by station recently closed?

 
CCG comes from a lifeboat station in Tofino still operating and RCMSAR comes from Ucluelet, Tofino Coast Guard radio was consolidated recently to Victoria Coast Guard Radio.
 
You do have to wait in line unfortunately if the nearest vessel is on another call they will have to deploy the next closest asset which can take a lot longer.

Edited by todd, 25 October 2015 - 10:54 PM.


#12 Mike K.

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 11:00 PM

Gotcha. So I think this wasn't a case of funding cutbacks, then, just people assuming that because private vessels were on scene first that the coast guard had failed Tofino.

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#13 todd

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 11:14 PM

Gotcha. So I think this wasn't a case of funding cutbacks, then, just people assuming that because private vessels were on scene first that the coast guard had failed Tofino.

 

Private vessels usually get to the scene first, a mayday call on marine VHF radio channel 16 would have been immediately relayed for all vessels of opportunity to attend. 
 
Could you imagine if that's how it happened on land, if everyone just carryed a radio around with them listening to the emergency channel and if they're close by and can help they should attend.


#14 todd

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 11:27 PM

 

The Vancouver Sun         23 Mar 1998

 
Two killed when whale-watching boat capsizes : The deaths near Tofino may be the first in the multi-million-dollar industry
 
Two people are dead and a third is in critical condition in Tofino Hospital after a boat taking tourists out to watch migrating whales capsized off the west coast of Vancouver Island.
 
Captain Jamie Davidson at the Victoria search and rescue centre said an inflatable boat with three passengers and the captain was reported overdue to the centre shortly after 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
 
A search by three airplanes, seven Tofino-area boats and the Canada Coast Guard rescue boat located the four floating in the ocean on the west side of Vargas Island, about 10 kilometres from Tofino.
 
Two were pronounced dead on arrival at hospital and one was in critical condition late Sunday. One person was reported in good condition. The names of the dead were not released.
 
"We don't know what happened or what caused it," Davidson said.
 
The capsized boat was operated by Jamie's Whaling Station, the oldest whale-watching company in Tofino.
 
When the company was contacted Sunday, a person answering the phone said owner Jamie Bray was unavailable for comment.
 
Tofino Mayor Scott Fraser said the deaths are a tragedy for the community and may be the first related to the whale-watching industry.
 
"I'm not aware of anything like this happening before," Fraser said. "But the sea is unpredictable at the best of times.
 
"The track record here has been really good. The charter companies tend to know the waters really well."
 
Fraser said the attraction for tourists is the annual migration of about 20,000 grey whales from Mexico to Alaska. From mid-March to the end of April, the waters around Tofino are considered some of the best whale-watching spots in the world, he said.
 
The giant grey whales, which can measure 10 metres or more in length, form the basis of a multi-million-dollar industry that attracts thousands of tourists from around the world.
 
Fraser said a major appeal of whale-watching is the excitement of viewing wildlife from smaller vessels such as Zodiacs.
 
"That's part of the attraction. There is a sense of adventure in the open when you have to wear a survival suit," said Fraser, who has lived in Tofino for six years. "When you see wildlife, you're closer to their level."
 
Fraser said whale-watching is an important business in Tofino. He said because of the grey whales, the town would have been as busy Sunday as it would get during the height of summer. The importance of whales is celebrated by Tofino and Ucluelet with the annual Whale Festival from mid-March to early April.

Edited by todd, 25 October 2015 - 11:38 PM.


#15 Bingo

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 04:49 AM

The photograph shows that the vessel had at least 3 liferaft canisters including one on the forward deck that is now missing in the photo of the partially submerged boat.

According to this website the vessel was originally 47' in length, built in 1981 and rebuilt in 1996.

http://www.nauticape...dustries&Page=2

 



#16 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 05:55 AM

One report says two life-boats were afloat, empty, nearby.

 

Probably safe to assume whatever happened, happened pretty quick.  Someone got the mayday out, thankfully.

 

With 27 passengers, I wonder how many crew members were aboard.  Of course, if one or more of them go into the water right away, they become little help to others in terms of getting life-jackets passed out etc.

 

CFAX is now reporting that the 5 dead are British nationals.  No word on the one still missing.


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#17 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 06:01 AM

leviathan-ii-photo.jpg
 
Times Colonist​ file photo.

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#18 Rob Randall

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 06:28 AM

Making headlines around the world.

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#19 Bingo

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 06:36 AM

One report says two life-boats were afloat, empty, nearby.

 

Probably safe to assume whatever happened, happened pretty quick.  Someone got the mayday out, thankfully.

 

With 27 passengers, I wonder how many crew members were aboard.  Of course, if one or more of them go into the water right away, they become little help to others in terms of getting life-jackets passed out etc.

 

CFAX is now reporting that the 5 dead are British nationals.  No word on the one still missing.

 

You often see large waves coming ashore off of Tofino even during very little wind, as the waves can be generated far out in the Pacific.

I wonder if this is a rouge wave that capsized the tour boat?



#20 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 06:40 AM

 

I wonder if this is a rouge wave that capsized the tour boat?

 

Or maybe even a rogue wave, 15%* more dangerous.

 

 

*usual


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