VANCOUVER, British Columbia – At least three people died after a whale watching boat with 27 people on board sank off Vancouver Island, Canadian authorities said late Sunday.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre confirmed that the vessel made a mayday call shortly before 4 p.m. Sunday near Tofino, British Columbia.

Jenn Hamilton, a spokeswoman for British Columbia Emergency Health Services, said at least three people were dead. “That was shortly after this incident happened,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said she did not have further details including nationalities of the deceased.

She didn’t know how far off the coast of British Columbia the boat sank. Five ambulances were dispatched and many off duty paramedics went to the dock to help, she said.

Asked how many were dead, British Columbia Coroner spokeswoman Barb McLintock earlier said in an email: “Multiple but we don’t yet have a firm number. Still a very fluid situation so we really are not sure yet.”

Brandon Hilbert from Tofino Water Taxi said local companies were helping with the rescue effort.

Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne tweeted “thoughts & prayers are with passengers, crew, emergency responders & their families.”


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