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Watery deaths for shark-watching tourists

Two Americans and a Norwegian died when a wave hit Shark Team, the 36-foot catamaran a tour group was using to view sharks in Cape Overberg,South Africa, on Sunday morning, according to a report in the CapeArgus newspaper.

There were a total of 10 tourists on board who had been shark-cage diving and nine crewmembers on the cat, all of whom were thrown into the sea. The three who had drowned had been trapped beneath the vessel, according to the report.

Two people were taken to a hospital on the mainland and several others suffered injuries such as fractured shoulders. There is no confirmed size of the wave at this time, but local authorities estimate the wave had to have been at least 12 feet high to knock over a vessel that size. Local boats in the area called authorities to come and rescue the passengers. Rescuers in boats reportedly arrived within minutes. Once the passengers were safely on land, the vessel was towed to GansbaaiHarbor in South Africa, where it was righted using a large crane.

Passengers said the seas prior to the wave had been around six feet. White Shark Project, which owns the tour group, said they were shocked by the incident, claiming Shark Team as one of the “safest boats” in the industry, according to the report.