2 dead after boat sinks off Vancouver Island

TOFINO, B.C. — Two people are dead and three others were treated and released from hospital Sunday after a fishing boat went down off the west coast of Vancouver Island near the remote tourist community of Tofino.

All five people on board the vessel were taken to shore Sunday afternoon, but health officials later confirmed that two of them had died, Coast Guard spokesman Dan Bate said in a statement.

The 8.5-metre-long catamaran was fishing for halibut near Bartlett Island, north of Tofino, B.C., on Sunday afternoon, he said.

Someone on the boat made a distress call around 1:20 p.m., said Sub-Lt. Melissa Kia with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria.

“We were able to talk with the vessel, live, to confirm that the five passengers were abandoning into the water. While the boat was attempting to get in a better position to speak with us via cellphone, it lost communications with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre,” she said.

Coast guard rescue boats, a Royal Canadian Air Forces helicopter and a plane from CFB Comox were all dispatched to look for the passengers, and a broadcast was put out asking marine vessels in the area to search the area.

Two commercial float planes also responded to the call for help, Kia said, and one of them spotted the people in the water and directed rescuers to the location.

“All five people were recovered from the water by two vessels of opportunity (non-coast guard boats) that were very close to the position,” Kia said.

Jason Bertin said a float plane from his Tofino company, Atleo River Air Service, spotted the vessel and was able to pinpoint its location for rescuers.

“We got called by a local who asked us to go look, so we dispatched a float plane and we dispatched a helicopter out of the airport,” he said.

Bertin said he was in the helicopter but turned back after the vessel was spotted by the other aircraft.

Bate said the boats linked up with the coast guard, and an off-duty paramedic provided CPR to one passenger while a Coast Guard Rescue Specialist tried to resuscitate another.

All five people were taken to emergency health services in Tofino. A spokeswoman for Island Health said Sunday that the survivors were treated and released.

What caused the vessel to take on water remains unclear.

Kia said the sea was about two to three metres high Sunday afternoon and lighting conditions in the area were good. She said the water temperature off the west coast of Vancouver Island is between about eight and 10 degrees at this time of year.

Bertin said the vessel was located in waters “very close” to where the whale watching vessel Leviathan II capsized in October 2015 with 27 people on board. Six people died in that incident.

The Transportation Safety Board has yet to complete its investigation into the cause of the tragedy. In the days immediately following the sinking, investigators said Leviathan II passengers had been standing on one side of the top deck when a wave hit the opposite side of the vessel.

Just Posted

Local church welcomes LGBTQ community

Gaetz Memorial United Church declares itself an Affirming Ministry

At mid-mandate and with extra cash, Liberals to chart fiscal course toward 2019

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government, right at the midpoint of its mandate,… Continue reading

Man killed in collision near Markerville

A 55-year-old man is dead after a collision near Markerville Friday night.… Continue reading

La Loche school shooter carried out plan with ‘stark efficiency:’ Crown

MEADOW LAKE, Sask. — A Saskatchewan judge is weighing whether a teenager… Continue reading

Castor triple-murder trial resumes on Monday

Trial was delayed two weeks for two men accused of killing Castor-area family

WATCH: A magical Harry Potter weekend in downtown Red Deer

Wizards, witches and muggles are flocking to downtown Red Deer to celebrate… Continue reading

B.C. ice rink where 3 people died remains closed due to safety concerns

FERNIE, B.C. — Residents who were forced from their homes because of… Continue reading

Trudeau condemns appointment of Mugabe as WHO ambassador

EDMONTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the appointment of Zimbabwe President… Continue reading

Friday Oct. 21: Winning Lotto Numbers

Friday, October 20, 2017 LOTTO MAX Winning Numbers 1 4 12 27… Continue reading

New northbound Hwy 2 lanes at Gaetz Avenue to open this Sunday

Drivers heading north through Red Deer on Hwy 2 will have a… Continue reading

Sockey Night at Saturday’s Rebels game

United Way Central Alberta is determined to provide warm feet for all… Continue reading

Canadian planet hunter seeking alien life

‘The shifting line of what is crazy’ says Toronto-born astrophysicist

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

4 B.C. prisons install body scanners to combat drug smuggling

The scanners are aimed to combat the smuggling of contraband including weapons and drugs

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month