A whale-watching boat in British Columbia capsized Sunday, killing at least five, and baffling investigators who said seas were calm when the accident occurred.
The 65-foot Leviathan II, which had 27 people aboard, sank off Vancouver Island just north of Seattle, according to news reports.
Officials have not commented on the cause of the crash, according to the Associated Press, but one of the fishermen first on the scene said a survivor reported that a sudden wave had capsized the boat.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said Tuesday that most of the passengers and crew were on the top deck on the port side, which would have raised the center of gravity and affected the stability of the boat.
The board also said sea conditions were such that a wave approached the boat from the starboard quarter. The vessel broached and then capsized.
Meanwhile, the British newspaper, The Telegraph, reports statements that the whale watching boat operators 'dangerously exposed' to bad weather.
The whale-watching boat that capsized off the coast of Vancouver Island, killing five Britons, was sailing in waters that were dangerously exposed to incoming bad weather, local rescuers have told the Telegraph.
Fishermen who were working in the area at the time of the accident – and who led the subsequent rescue mission – said they had chosen to avoid that stretch of water that day because they knew it was “too dangerous”.
“We stayed away from the reef because we knew the weather was going to blow up. The waves were bigger and the wind had picked up,” said Ken Brown, who, along with his boating partner, was the first to reach the sinking vessel.