Saturday 10 December 2016

Whale boat capsize: Irish nurse tells of how she helped the survivors

Five people from the UK died while an Australian man is still missing after the Leviathan II sank near Tofino, British Columbia on Sunday.

Published 28/10/2015 | 12:29

A nurse from Northern Ireland has told how she helped and comforted survivors after a whale-watching boat sank off the coast of Canada.

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Five people from the UK died while an Australian man is still missing after the Leviathan II sank near Tofino, British Columbia on Sunday.

Twenty-one people on board the stricken vessel were rescued.

Sheila Simpson, originally from outside Strabane in Co Tyrone has spoken of how she helped to comfort survivors.

"God put me there on the dock and thank God for my training in Omagh and in the Royal in Belfast.

"I just stepped into the place where I could be of assistance.

"The survivors who could walk up off the deck were shell-shocked and I looked them in the eye and I put my hand to their back and I said 'you are alive, you have survived'", she told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme.

David Thomas, 50, and his 18-year-old son Stephen, from Swindon, Wiltshire, were among those who died when the Leviathan II capsized.

Nigel Hooker, 63, from Southampton, was also killed with expats Jack Slater, 76, who lived in Toronto, and Katie Taylor (29) who lived in the ski resort of Whistler.

A physical examination of the boat is due to begin today.

Most of the passengers were on the left side of the boat, "affecting the vessel's stability", when a wave hit the right side, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada said.

Belfast Telegraph

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