BRITISH COLUMBIA

Rav Pillay, Missing Australian Man, Was With Girlfriend When Boat Capsized In Tofino

10/30/2015 05:53 EDT | Updated 10/30/2015 07:59 EDT

An Australian tourist who was a passenger onboard a whale-watching ship that sank near Tofino, B.C. on Sunday is still missing.

Rav Pillay, 27, was on the Leviathan II with his girlfriend, Danielle Hooker, and her father on Sunday when a rogue wave flipped the boat.

All 27 people on board were tossed into the ocean, and five passengers — all British nationals including Hooker's 63-year-old dad — died. Others were pulled from the water by members of the nearby Ahousaht First Nation, who were first on the scene.

Pillay, who had been vacationing from Sydney, Australia, has been declared missing.

rav pillay missing tofino

Rav Pillay, 27, disappeared when the Leviathan II flipped near Tofino, B.C.

Hooker, 28, told British newspaper The Times that her boyfriend was knocked unconscious when the boat flipped. She said she clung to Pillay's body to keep him afloat as long as she could, but he slipped out of her grasp before rescuers arrived.

RCMP have searched for the Australian near Vargas Island, but have been repeatedly interrupted by poor weather conditions.

Members of Pillay's family flew into Tofino on Wednesday, but declined to speak to waiting media.

tofino boat sinking leviathan

The Leviathan II sits in the water near Tofino, B.C. after flipping on Oct. 25, 2015.

Jamie Bray, owner of Jamie's Whaling Station, said he and his employees were "heartbroken" over the tragedy.

The Leviathan II had about 70 life jackets and three life rafts on board, but rules don't require passengers to be wearing the flotation devices on larger boats with enclosed compartments, said Bray.

The owner also said the ship had a "perfect safety record."

The Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday that passengers crowding on the top observation deck created a high centre of gravity that may have compromised the ship's stability.

With files from the Canadian Press

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram

Also on HuffPost

Whale-Watching Boat Sinks Near Tofino, B.C.