The MV Leviathan II sinking. Photo by Albert Titian (Albert Titian/Facebook)
Published October 26, 2015
TOFINO, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Some members of the Ahousaht First Nation members from were some of the first rescuers on the scene of a sinking of a whale-watching boat of the Canadian coast on Sunday afternoon.
The boat, the MV Leviathon II, operated by Jamie’s Whaling Station, had 27 people on board when it sank off the coast of western Vargas Island. Of the passengers, 21 were rescued; five died and one person remains missing and is presumed deceased.
All five who died are British citizens who were on tour.
Ahousant First Nation members assisted in the rescue, along with others in the vicinity of the accident which happened late Sunday afternoon.
“Several members of Ahousaht First Nation bravely went out in their motor vessels in the waters near Tofino,” Rob Bullock of the Ahousaht First Nation said in a prepared statement.
The weather was reported to be moderate at the time of the deadly accident. Waters of the Vargas coast can change rapidly according to sources. The 65-feet MV Leviathon II, the largest vessel in the Tofino area, was reportedly in sea waters that contain large rocks. The boat, which can seat 46 passengers, was over half-full.
With over 2,000 members, the Ahousaht First Nation has 25 reserve sites with the nation’s territories, all accessible only by float plane or boat, according to nation’s website.
Tofino is a located on Vancouver Island.
The tragic accident remains under investigation.