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Teachers pay tribute to respected former student Stephen

18-year-old Stephen was killed in the tragic accident. Credit:

Former teachers of Stephen Thomas,18, one of the Brits killed in a boating accident off the coast of Canada, have paid tribute, calling him a "positive role model for others".

Isambard Community School Headteacher Sue Banks said:

He never used the term 'I can't' and was constantly smiling. He was respected by students and staff alike.

I have received messages of disbelief and sorrow from many staff including those who have left and of course we are preparing for our students returning to school next week, many of whom knew Stephen.

– Sue Banks, Isambard Community School

Daughter of Jack Slater pays tribute to 'lovely' dad

The heartbroken daughter of Jack Slater - one of the Brits who died in a tragic whale-watching accident in Canada - has paid tribute to her "lovely" and "larger than life" father.

Writing on Facebook, Michele Slater Brown said:

Our hearts are broken today, our father was one of the people who lost their lives on the whale watching tragedy in Tofino.

Our Dad was larger than life, a charmer, handsome, entrepreneur, engineer in the Navy, he was 76 years old, he was our Dad, our lovely Dad, I will miss him forever but I'm grateful for all the times I spent with him, I love you dad.

– Michele Slater Brown

She later posted that she had been notified of his death "in the wee hours of this morning".

"I'm a bit foggy, my heart is hurting so much," she added.

"He was an adventurer, he lived his life his way, I'm so sorry he had to die in this way, it's a tragedy beyond belief.

"I'm proud of who he was and who he created. My sisters are strong and we will continue to live our lives, always with him in our minds and hearts."


Third Brit who died in whale-watching accident named

Family photo of Jack Slater, who died in the accident. Credit: Michele Slater Brown/Facebook

A third Briton who died when a whale-watching boat sank off the coast of Canada has been named by sources as Jack Slater, 76.

Mr Slater was originally from Salford, but had lived in Canada for several years, according to reports.

He was one of five Brits who lost their lives when their boat capsized and sank off the coast of Tofino, British Columbia.

Charity's tribute to father and son killed in boat accident

David Thomas, 50, and Stephen, 17, were killed in the accident. Credit: Swindon Advertiser

A charity has paid tribute to David and Stephen Thomas, the British father and son killed when a whale-watching boat sank off the coast of Canada yesterday.

The Down's Syndrome Association described Stephen as a "very talented young man" and a "gifted photographer", while his father was a "huge supporter" of the charity.

Carol Boys, CEO, said:

Everyone at The Down’s Syndrome Association and the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group were deeply saddened to hear the news of the deaths of Stephen and David Thomas.

Stephen was a very talented young man and a gifted photographer. His love of photography started when he was 8 years old.

Stephen’s father David was a huge supporter of the Down’s Syndrome Association and one of the driving forces behind the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group where he was a Trustee.

All of our thoughts and condolences are with the Thomas family at this terrible time.

– Carol Boys, Down’s Syndrome Association

Microsoft pays tribute to 'guru' who died in boat tragedy

Microsoft has paid tribute to David Thomas - an employee of the company - and his son after they died when a wale-watching boat sank off the coast of Canada.

The managing director of Microsoft UK, Michel Van der Bel, said that staff were "shocked" and "saddened" by the news of the tragedy.

Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with their family, friends and David’s colleagues and we will be doing everything we can to support them.

– Michel Van der Bel, Area VP and General Manager, Microsoft UK

David had worked at Microsoft since 2011. He was described as an "undoubted guru" in IT software by someone he worked with.

Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon tweeted that he had been in touch with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for further information about the incident.

Stephen's brother Paul Thomas, 22, told the Swindon Advertiser he planned to fly to Canada to be with his mother who survived the tragedy with minor injuries.

Investigators from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada have begun an inquiry into what happened.


British father and son named after Canada boat accident

David Thomas, 50, and Stephen, 17, were killed in the accident. Credit: Swindon Advertiser

Two of the Britons who died after a whale-watching boat sank off the coast of Tofina in Canada have been as David Thomas and his son Stephen Thomas.

David Thomas, 50, and Stephen, 17, from Swindon, Wiltshire, were among five British people killed when the boat overturned near Vancouver Island on Sunday, according to sources.

Stephen's mother Julie was rescued along with 20 other people and is recuperating in hospital with minor injuries, the Swindon Advertiser reports.

Fisherman: Giant wave may have capsized whale-watchers

A fisherman has described how he helped save the lives of some of those on board a whale-watching boat off the Canadian coast after it began to sink.

Five people - all Brits aged between 18 and 76 - were killed, and one man is still missing.

One woman reportedly said a wave had capsized the boat Credit: Albert Titian/Facebook

Clarence Smith said he and a friend rushed to the scene after his friend spotted an emergency flare in the sky, and said they helped rescue a number of people - including one pregnant woman and one with a broken leg.

One of the women told him that a giant wave had capsized the boat with no warning, which could explain why there was no communication on the radio.

Corene Inouye, director of operations for Jamie's Whaling Station - which ran the trip - said the incident had happened too quickly for a mayday call to be sent out, but confirmed flares had been lit.

To the best of our knowledge there was no distress call. From what we know at this stage it appears that the incident happened so quickly, the crew didn't have an opportunity to send out a mayday.

We have learnt that the crew was able to access emergency flares that are a part of the safety equipment on board the boat, and deployed them from the water.

Local Ahousaht First Nations fishermen were the first to see this, and rushed to the scene to come to the assistance of our passengers and crew.

– Corene Inouye, Jamie's Whaling Station

Investigators arrive in Tofino to probe sinking of tourist boat

An official investigation into the sinking of a whale-watching boat off the coast of Canada has been launched by the country's Transportation Safety Board of (TSB).

Captain Marc-André Poisson is leading the investigation Credit: RTV

Five people aged between 18 and 76, all British, died in the incident, including a woman and four men. Three were tourists while two are believed to have lived in the region.

Captain Marc-André Poisson, the director of marine investigations, gave a news conference where he revealed the boat - which was carrying 24 passengers and three crew members - set off at around 1.30pm local time, and got into trouble just over two hours later.

A coastguard vessel towed the boat to the north side of Vargas Island, he said, where it was secured. He did not mention any further detail regarding how it came to be in trouble.

It is currently partially submerged, having sunk around seven metres.

A passenger on another boat took this photo as it went to rescue survivors. Credit: Albert Titian/Facebook

Captain Poisson said a team of four investigators would be examining information including weather conditions, interviewing crew and passengers, equipment safety and boat stability.

He said it was "much too early" to say what the causes and contributing factors might be at this time.

Boat had done 'same trip twice a day for 20 years'

The man who owns the boat that sank off the coast of western Canada killing five Britons has said he is "traumatised".

Jamie Bray, who runs boat touring company Jamie's Whaling Station, said that the 65-foot Leviathan II vessel has "done this exact same trip for 20 years twice a day."

Speaking at a press conference, Bray confirmed that the boat's skipper has more than 20 years' whale-watching experience and more than 18 with the company.

Responding to questions from reporters, he said that those onboard the boat were not wearing life jackets because Transport Canada advises not to on larger boats because in "the event of a sinking it would be difficult to exit with a life jacket."

The firm said that the vessel was operating normally prior to the accident and had not recently undergone any work.

The boat capsized yesterday afternoon off Tufino, British Columbia. One person remains missing. All but four of the 21 survivors taken to hospital have been released.

Bray said that the fatal capsizing one of his firm's boats on a nearby stretch of waters in 1998 involved a different type of vessel and was caused by a rogue wave.

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