UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Two dead, three rescued after fishing boat sinks near Tofino

UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Two dead, three rescued after fishing boat sinks near Tofino

RCMP investigate tragic boat sinking near Tofino that claimed the lives of two Alberta men

Two people are dead and three others are in hospital after a catamaran sank off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

It happened southwest of Vargas Island Sunday afternoon.

RCMP are now trying to determine if weather was a factor in the tragedy.

The 8.5-metre-long catamaran, named ‘Catatonic’, is was from a Tofino-based fishing charter company. 

Coast Guard spokesperson Dan Bate says the boat was anchored and fishing for halibut when it started taking on water.

A distress call was issued around 1:20 pm Sunday and the five people on board said they were abandoning ship.

Coast Guard ships and aircraft from CFB Comox were all dispatched to look for the passengers and the call was also put out to boats in the area.

Planes from Tofino Air and Atleo Air also rushed to the scene and it was a crew from Atleo Air that spotted the vessel and pinpointed its location for rescuers.

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria says all five passengers rescued by private boats in the area after spending 90 minutes in the frigid waters of Clayoquot Sound.

They were rushed to hospital in Tofino but two of the victims did not survive.

RCMP the victims ? say a 32-year old man and a 42-year old man ? are both from Alberta.

No names have been released.

Police say the other three passengers were released from hospital after receiving treatment.

The RCMP and Transportation Safety Board are investigating what caused the boat to sink.

The tragedy happened in the same general area of the sinking of the Leviathan II whale watching vessel 18 months ago.

Six people perished in that incident and Tofino mayor Josie Osborne says the area is known to be dangerous for mariners.


Isabelle RaghemIsabelle Raghem

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