[WORLD NEWS ★★★]
WHALE-WATCHING BOAT TRAGEDY CAUSED BY ROGUE WAVE
(P1) A ROGUE WAVE that struck as SIGHTSEERS crowded to one side of the top DECK caused the sinking of a Canadian WHALE-WATCHING VESSEL, killing five Britons and an Australian near Vancouver Island, investigators have said.
(P2) Canada’s transportation safety board said that after questioning some of the 21 survivors, including three crew, it had initially concluded that the Leviathan II sank on Sunday after it was hit by a wave when most of the passengers were gathered on the top deck watching SEA LIONS.
(P3) The British Columbia CORONER said that all of those killed had been standing on the open top deck of the 20-metre long vessel, which had sailed from the small RESORT TOWN of Tofino on a routine sightseeing trip.
(P4) Poisson stressed they were early findings and final conclusions could take months. “None of this PRELIMINARY information should be used to draw any final conclusions at this point,” he said.
(P5) However, the speed at which the transportation safety board reached its initial assessment suggests it has LITTLE DOUBT about the cause of the tragedy. Local fishermen and others who work on the seas around Tofino had already reached a similar conclusion, saying that a wave appeared the most likely explanation.
(P6) The board’s announcement will raise questions about the design of the vessel. The Leviathan II’s owner, Jamie Bray, said it had made the same trip every day for 20 years WITHOUT INCIDENT and the SKIPPER had 18 years’ experience.
(P7) Matt Brown, coroner for the island region of British Columbia, said none of the five who died had been wearing LIFEJACKETS, although they were available.
(P8) “Lifejackets were on board. I believe that this vessel can occupy up to 50 individuals. There were 27 on board and there were lifejackets available for all of them,” he said.
(P9) The British CONSUL GENERAL in Vancouver, Rupert Potter, went to Tofino to assist survivors who lost relatives. He described the response of the community as “really remarkable”.
(P10) “What always strikes me in these situations is the bravery that people show, and that’s definitely been the case here,” he said.
(P11) Potter, who also visited survivors in hospital, said LOVED ONES were travelling to the town from the UK.
(P12) The premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, visited the town on Tuesday and praised the rescue effort led by fishermen from an INDIGENOUS community of the Ahousaht FIRST NATION a few miles to the north. “More lives would have been lost if not for the Ahousaht First Nation. We’re all incredibly grateful,” she said.
(P13) Although there was not time for a DISTRESS CALL before the boat sank, one of the crew found a FLARE in the water and fired it. It was spotted by fishermen who RAISED THE ALARM by radio and then set off to rescue survivors. The radio call was also picked up in Tofino from where boats also PUT TO SEA.
(P14) About 30 boats responded to the rescue call alongside the Canadian COAST GUARD. All 21 of the survivors had been picked up by the time the official vessels arrived. AMBULANCES met them on Tofino’s WATERFRONT.
(P15) The fishermen also brought the dead to shore. Survivors were taken to Tofino’s small hospital. But it soon became OVERWHELMED and so local residents began taking the less serious cases into their homes.
(P16) Tofino’s mayor, Josie Osborne, praised the townspeople. “This community’s response has been NOTHING SHORT OF PHENOMENAL,” she said.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Have you ever been on a boat EXCURSION?
- Do you know how to swim? Do you feel that you are a good swimmer?
- Are you attracted to living on the SEACOAST, or do you feel that it can be a little too dangerous because of the UNPREDICTABILITY of the ocean, VIOLENT weather, etc.?
- Indigenous peoples are often EXCEPTIONALLY good at handling natural emergencies. Why do you think this is true?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Rogue wave
- Sea lion
- Little doubt
- Without incident
- Consul General
- Loved one
- Distress call
- Raise the alarm
- Put to sea
- Coast Guard
- Nothing short of