Most passengers and crew on a Canadian whale-watching boat that capsized and sank, killing six people including an Australian, were on one side of the vessel’s top deck watching sea lions when the boat was hit by a sudden wave.
Many people on one side of the top deck may have made the boat top heavy. Canada’s Transportation Safety Board broke the news at a media conference in Tofino, where the tragedy happened.
“This would have raised the centre of gravity, affecting the vessel’s stability,” Marc-André Poisson, the TSB’s director of marine investigations, told a press conference.
It has already been determined that the passengers were not wearing lifejackets when the vessel, MV Leviathan II, rolled and capsized. They were not required to do so. An Australian man is still missing, presumed dead, and five other passengers, all British nationals, have been confirmed dead.
“None of this preliminary information should be used in isolation to draw any conclusions at this point,” Poisson added.
Poisson said earlier that a thorough investigation could take months, but any important findings would be released earlier.
The company which operated the boat was involved in a similar fatal incident in 1998, killing the ship’s captain and a German tourist on that occasion. See: Whale watching tour boat sinks with 27 pax aboard
Written by Peter Needham