The Canadian Press
OAK HARBOR — The U.S. Coast Guard said dozens of passengers were rescued from a British Columbia whale-watching boat off the coast of Washington state.
The coast guard said the vessel operators reported Thursday that they had purposely grounded the boat on Smith Island after taking on water for an unknown reason.
Coast Guard spokeswoman Amanda Norcross said that the boat carried 45 people.
Initially 30 passengers were placed on a Coast Guard vessel, 11 others were transferred to a Canadian tour company vessel and other boats were sent to help the remaining passengers.
Norcross said passengers were taken back to Victoria and four crew members stayed behind on the Eagle Wing Tours vessel to help with the salvage operation.
The tour operator issued a statement Thursday saying the vessel, 4Ever Wild, came into contact with a rock near Smith Island and sustained damage before the captain brought it safely to shore.
“All passengers are safe at this time and no major injuries were sustained,” the statement said.