Canadian authorities say 5 dead, 1 missing after whale watching boat sinks

Five people were killed and another person remained missing after a whale watching vessel carrying 27 people capsized off the west coast of Canada Sunday, authorities said.

Lt. Commander Desmond James of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) said late Sunday that the military agency's search had concluded with the other 21 passengers being rescued. James said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would take over the search for the missing person.

There were no immediate details on the identities of those killed.

Earlier Sunday, the JRCC, which is staffed by Canadian military and Coast Guard personnel, confirmed that the vessel made a mayday call shortly before 4 p.m. PDT Sunday near Tofino, British Columbia.

More on this story from FOX News.

Joe Martin, a member of the Tal-o-qui-aht First Nation, was near the dock when the rescue boats that went to the aid of a sunken whale watching vessel began returning to the tourism community of Tofino.

He said his brother and nephew were out halibut fishing when they saw the overturned boat and tried to help. Instead, the men pulled in three bodies, he said.

The ship was on the far side of Vargas Island in Clayoquot Sound, an area that Martin said could get really rough. But it wasn't Sunday.

"It wasn't even blowing hard," he said. "This is the largest boat in Tofino and I was really surprised that it went down."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.