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Five Dead as Whale Watching Boat Sinks Off Canada

A boat carrying 27 people off Canada's Pacific Coast sank Sunday, authorities told NBC News.
IMAGE: Canadian tour boat rescue
Rescue workers attend to a whale watching boat that sank Sunday off British Columbia.Rami Touffaha — Burnaby Tours & Charters

At least five people were killed Sunday when a whale watching boat sank off Canada's Pacific coast, authorities told NBC News.

Royal Canadian Navy Sub-Lt. Melissa Kia said the boat, the Leviathan II, sank with 27 people on board about 5 p.m. (8 p.m. ET) about eight nautical miles northwest of Tofino, a small community on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Rescue personnel search for victims of a capsized whale watching boat Sunday in Tofino, British Columbia.Adam Chilton / Reuters

"There are survivors, and the search is ongoing to locate the unaccounted-for. We are still trying to confirm those numbers," Kia said.

Barbara McLintock, a spokesperson for the BC Coroners Service confirmed the death toll late Sunday and said it could rise.

A spokeswoman for Tofino General Hospital told NBC News that one person was in serious condition and seven other people were stable.

Jamie's Adventure Centres of Tofino lists the Leviathan II as its premiere whale watching vessel, describing it as a three-deck, 65-foot vessel with a capacity of 46.

A woman who answered the phone at Jamie's Adventure Centres told NBC News that "all of our time and energy is being focused on passengers and crew members."