Britons who died in whale-watching tragedy 'were not wearing life jackets'


Five Britons who died when a whale-watching boat sank off the coast of Canada were not wearing life jackets although plenty were available, the local coroner said.

David Thomas, 50, and his 18-year-old son Stephen, from Swindon, Wiltshire, were among five Britons who died after the boat overturned near Vancouver Island on Sunday.

Nigel Hooker, 63, from Southampton, was also killed along with ex-pats Jack Slater, 76, who lived in Toronto, and Katie Taylor, 29, who lived in the ski resort of Whistler.

Matt Brown, regional coroner for the Island Region of the British Columbia Coroners Service, said: "What we have found thus far is that none were wearing life jackets.

"As I understand through the current regulations that's not a requirement in the area that they were or on this vessel."

He added: "Our understanding at this time is that life jackets were on board. I believe that this vessel can occupy up to 50 individuals. There were 27 on board and there were life jackets available for all of them."

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Brown said the boat had two decks, adding: "The information we have is that they were at the top of the boat."

He said the top deck was open whereas the lower deck was enclosed by windows.

A 27-year-old man from Sydney remains missing, he said.

'No Opportunity for Mayday' Says Canada Whale Watching Operator