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LIVE UPDATES -- WHALE WATCH TRAGEDY -- Multiple fatalities after boat sinks off Canadian coast

LIVE UPDATES -- WHALE WATCH TRAGEDY -- Multiple fatalities after boat sinks off Canadian coast

CTV

Multiple people are dead after a whale watching boat carrying dozens of passengers sank off the coast of Tofino, B.C., Sunday.

A massive search-and-rescue effort was launched after the vessel made a mayday call shortly before 4 p.m., said the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre.

A total of 27 people were on board when the ship capsized.

More than one person has died, and it’s believed there are survivors.

"We can definitely confirm we've been called to the dock in Tofino and we understand multiple fatalities," Coroner Barb McClintock said.

Local boats launched into action to assist the rescue effort, Brandon Hilbert from Tofino Water Taxi told The Canadian Press.

Ambulances and emergency responders started arriving at the dock around 4 p.m., says witness Chris McLennan.

“It was one after another after another,” he said. “They just didn’t stop.”

McLennan said he saw two body bags on the dock, and a Canadian Coast Guard Cutter on the water.

The ship belongs to Jamie’s Whaling Station and Adventure Centres, CTV Vancouver has learned.

The company offers whale watching tours of Tofino and nearby Ucluelet on zodiac-style rigid-hulled inflatable boats, as well as larger 65-foot cruisers.

It is believed the boat that sanks is the MV "Leviathan II," a three-deck cruiser that is the largest in the company's fleet.

More information is expected from the Coast Guard after 6 p.m. PT.

More to come...

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