Did a ‘rogue wave’ capsize a whale-watching boat off B.C. coast?

Written by admin on 14/11/2018 Categories: 老域名出售

A whale watching boat carrying 27 people capsized off the coast of Tofino, B.C., on Sunday killing five British nationals and now investigators are trying to determine what caused the tragedy.

What caused the 20-metre vessel to capsize is still not clear. The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre said the vessel made a mayday call late Sunday afternoon on what was described a calm, clear and sunny day.

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READ MORE: Marine safety needs a ‘total reboot’ in wake of fatal Tofino sinking, safety expert says

Ken Lucas, a member of the Ahousaht First Nation, was among some of the first on scene and said a woman they rescued said a wave caused the Leviathan to capsize.

“The one lady told us that they capsized from a wave. The Leviathan took a wave from the broadside, took a wave and the boat went right sideways, flipped on its side,” Lucas told Global BC1

The Transportation Safety Board, and others, have identified the boat as the Leviathan II belonging to the local whale-watching company Jamie’s Whaling Station. The TSB said it is investigating Sunday’s incident.

READ MORE: First Nations among rescuers credited with saving lives after boat sinks off B.C. coast

Lucas said he believed the woman, who identified herself as a crew member, had a broken leg.

“She was up on the top part of the deck cruiser and when the boat flipped, she must have toppled in the water and the boat kind of hit her leg, or broke it,” he said. “That’s kind of what I thought. That’s what the lady shared with us.”

The Transportation Safety Board, and others, have identified the boat as the Leviathan II belonging to the local whale-watching company Jamie’s Whaling Station. The TSB said it is investigating Sunday’s incident.

WATCH: Marine safety expert on investigation

Rogue or “extreme storm waves” are a phenomenon that occur when swells pass through one another causing their crests to coincide and reinforce one another, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric  Administration.

“This process can form unusually large, towering waves that quickly disappear. If the swells are travelling in the same direction, these mountainous waves may last for several minutes before subsiding,” the NOAA said on its website.

Marine safety expert Joe Spears told Global News that it is too early in the investigation to draw any conclusions but “whatever happened, it happened very quickly.”

READ MORE: ‘Everybody is one big family,’ says Tofino mayor on whale-watching tragedy

“The government of Canada needs to preserve the perishable evidence. That vessel right now is a crime scene,” he said. “The RCMP working with Transport Canada, I’m assuming [the crew] they would have already been interviewed so we can find out what happened.

“We have five people dead in the water. That is a very difficult thing especially for Tofino,” said Spears.

“The problem is you’re operating in some pretty nasty water to look at wildlife. The West Coast trail was known as the shipwreck trail and that’s difficult waters.”

He added that although there was no extreme weather “there was a maximum tidal flow happening and some strong winds.”

Spears says a so-called “free surface effect” may have played a role in the incident.

“Water may come onto the deck that may have caused it to lose some stability, and because you have a modification where everyone is up on the top deck that may have caused something,” he said.

*With files from Amy Judd

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