Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Centre of Gravity High, While Wave Hits B.C. Tourist Boat, Sending It Over: TSB

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Centre of Gravity High, While Wave Hits B.C. Tourist Boat, Sending It Over: TSB

Article excerpt

Tourists on left, wave hits right, boat rolls: TSB


TOFINO, B.C. - Sightseeing passengers crowded the top deck of a whale-watching vessel when it was hit by a wave and then rolled, sending 27 people into the water off Vancouver Island's west coast, an investigator said.

On Tuesday, Marc-Andre Poisson, the director of marine investigations with the Transportation Safety Board, released preliminary results of Sunday's accident that claimed five lives. One passenger is still missing.

"We know that most passengers and crew were on the top deck on the port side ... this would have raised the centre of gravity, affecting the vessel's stability," he said during a news conference.

"We also know that the sea conditions were such that the wave approached the vessel from the starboard quarter," he said. "We know the vessel broached and then capsized."

All five people who died were British nationals. The missing man is from Australia.

Rupert Potter, the British consul general based in Vancouver, said earlier in the day the deaths are a tragedy that is resonating around the world.

"It has clearly deeply affected those involved," he said. "It's affected the community here in Tofino and it's affected people back in the U.K."

Potter shook hands with B.C. Premier Christy Clark and expressed his thanks for the support he and the victims' families have been receiving.

Potter said while he has been in Tofino he has met with the relatives of those who died.

"Our focus is of course the families who have been affected and to provide whatever support we can to help them through this process," he said. "The bravery and courage they have shown through what is a difficult time, I find deeply moving."

Clark said she was horrified and heartbroken when she heard about the capsized boat but she's proud of the way British Columbians came together to help.

"The Ahousaht First Nation, the people of Tofino, the people who know this coast so well, when there was a crisis, when there were lives at risk, people stepped up and stepped in and saved lives," Clark said, as she thanked the community.

The BC Coroners Service has identified all five of the victims, including David Thomas, 50, and his 18 year-old son Stephen, who were visiting from the U. …

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