OAK HARBOR, WASH.—The U.S. Coast Guard says dozens of passengers have been rescued from a British Columbia whale-watching boat off the coast of Washington state.
The coast guard says the vessel operators reported on Thursday that they had purposely grounded the boat on Smith Island after taking on water for an unknown reason.
Spokeswoman Amanda Norcross says the coast guard, several other agencies and Good Samaritans responded to help the boat with 45 people on board.
She says 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 says passengers are being 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,” it says.