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Large wave overturned B.C. whale-watching boat that killed 6

Associated Press logo Associated Press 14/06/2017 By JEREMY HAINSWORTH, Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The capsizing of a whale-watching boat that killed five British nationals and one Australian was caused by a rogue wave higher than the boat, Canada's Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday.

The board said in a report that 24 passengers and three-crew were aboard the Leviathan II when a deckhand heard a noise and saw a large breaking wave on Oct. 25, 2015.

The captain attempted to turn the 20-meter (65-feet) boat to minimize the wave's impact, but TSB investigator Clinton Rebeiro said it struck before his actions could be effective.

The boat capsized about 9 miles (14 kilometers) off Tofino, a popular destination for whale watchers at the tip of a peninsula some 200 miles (320 kilometers) northwest of Victoria, the capital of British Columbia.

The board recommended that commercial passenger vessels operating beyond sheltered waters carry emergency radio beacons that indicate their positions.

The report said search and rescue authorities were not aware of the capsizing for 45 minutes because the crew didn't have time to transmit a distress call and it was only by chance that they were able to activate a parachute flare, alerting rescuers nearby.

Court documents filed last year by the vessel's owner in response to a civil lawsuit by several passengers describe the event as an "act of God" that could not have been reasonably predicted.

The passengers, none of whom were wearing lifejackets, were thrown into the sea or trapped underneath or inside the vessel.

Spokesman Ryan Teremy of Jamie's Whaling Station, which operated the vessel, said the report aligns with what the crew said all along. "It was a tragedy," he said.

Teremy said the crew "performed incredibly well."

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