Australia

Body of Australian whale boat victim found off Canada

Image of Leviathan II boat that sank near Vancouver Island - 26 October 2015 Image copyright Albert Titian/Facebook
Image caption Boats from a nearby First Nation community were the first to reach the Leviathan II

The body of an Australian who drowned after a whale-watching boat capsized off Canada last month has been found.

Surfers found the body of Raveshan Pillay, 27, washed up on a beach on Wednesday, the coroner said.

Six people died when the Leviathan II capsized on 25 October after being struck by a wave.

Mr Pillay's partner, UK citizen Danielle Hooker, was on board the sinking vessel. Her father, Nigel Hooker, also died in the incident.

Investigators said the vessel may have become unstable, with most passengers standing on the left side when the wave struck. Twenty-one people were rescued after the boat capsized.

Mr Pillay's family reportedly returned to Sydney from Canada last week.

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Media captionFisherman Clarence Smith: "We took 10 people off the life raft and on to our boat"

Local newspapers published a thank you letter from the family, detailing their experiences in the Tofino district.

"Every shop we walked into was welcoming, every person we spoke with so kind," the letter said.

"Nobody is to blame. We lost our son, but we only lost his physical body. His spirit is here. And we gained a family, friends, a community. We will be back."


Who were the victims?

Image copyright AP
Image caption Tributes at the scene

David Thomas had worked for technology giant Microsoft, which said it was "shocked and saddened" by his death.

His son Stephen was described by the Down's Syndrome Association as "a very talented young man and a gifted photographer".

Nigel Hooker had been visiting Canada from Southampton. He worked for Airbus Defence and Space as a programme assurance manager in Portsmouth. They said he was "a well respected and popular colleague, and will be greatly missed by everyone he worked with".

Jack Slater was born in Salford but had lived in Canada for more than 30 years. His daughter, Michele Slater Brown, said he was "larger than life, a charmer, handsome, entrepreneur" and a "lovely dad".

Katie Taylor was also an ex-pat, and was originally from Lichfield in Staffordshire, but lived in the ski resort of Whistler. She was described as a "vibrant, outgoing and lovely young woman" by her family.

Raveshan Pillay was an Australian citizen who was originally born in South Africa. An electrician by trade, he was described as "loving, caring and popular" by his family.

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