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Canadian whale-watching cruise ends tragically

One of the most popular activities for tourists from around the world who visit Canada is going on sightseeing cruises along our coastlines. Sadly, as many of our readers know, one of these cruises ended tragically last month. A whale-watching trip on a vessel filled with passengers, most of whom were British, capsized off of Vancouver Island.

Of the 27 people who fell overboard, five died and one is still missing. The dead are all British nationals. The missing passenger is a man from Australia. Among the dead were a British man and his teenage son who were visiting Canada.

An investigation into the cause of the tragic incident by the Transportation Safety Board is ongoing. However, a spokesperson for the TSB said that most of the passengers and crew members were on the same side of the top deck of the vessel when it capsized. He said, "this would have raised the centre of gravity, affecting the vessel's stability." He added that a wave appears to have hit the boat, causing it to capsize.

According to the coroner, none of the passengers appeared to have been wearing life jackets. However, he added that he didn't believe that life jackets are required "on this kind of vessel."

Many of us have been on similar excursions in Canada and other countries. We expect that the company who owns the vessel on which we're traveling and the crew members aboard the vessel are exercising all of the appropriate precautions to ensure our safety.

Although tragedies like the one that happened off the coast of British Columbia are rare, it may prove to be an impetus for greater safety regulations for such excursions. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a similar situation, it may be worthwhile to find out if there are any legal options for holding the responsible entities accountable.

Source: The Mississauga News, "Tourists on left, wave hits right, boat rolls: TSB," Dirk Meissner, Oct. 27, 2015

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