The body of an Australian man has been found off Vancouver Island's West Coast, bringing to six the number of people who are confirmed dead after a whale-watching boat flipped on Oct. 25.
The BC Coroners Service said Thursday the body of 27-year-old Raveshan Morgan Pillay was recovered on the shore of Vargas Island, not far from Tofino, B.C.
Twenty-seven tourists and crew were tossed into the water, about 15 kilometres northwest of the tourist town, when a wave broadsided the Leviathan II, a 20-metre whale-watching boat.
The five people who were confirmed dead on the night of incident were all from the United Kingdom and ranged in age from 18 to 76.
An extensive search for Pillay turned up nothing until surfers reported finding a body Wednesday night on a beach on Vargas Island, close to where the vessel flipped over.
Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne said Pillay's family travelled from Sydney to Tofino after the accident, but returned back to Australia last week.
"(We're) just thinking a lot about his family and friends and the whole incident, and also mindful about all the people who were involved in the search for him," said Osborne in an interview on Thursday.
"And also the sense of anxiety that they might be feeling too about just confirming."
The Coroners Service, Transportation Safety Board and RCMP were continuing to investigate the cause of the incident.
Pillay's family told the community that had they experienced "kindness after kindness" in a thank you letter published in the local newspaper after their departure.
"Every shop we walked into was welcoming, every person we spoke with so kind," said the letter addressed to the communities of Tofino, Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht.
"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."
The letter, signed by the "Pillay/Hooker Family," included a long list of thank yous and was printed on Nov. 11 in the Westerly News.
Pillay's girlfriend and her family were also on board the vessel when it capsized and his girlfriend's father was among the five people confirmed dead.
The mayor said she would look to the family's direction regarding holding any kind of memorial.
The Transportation Safety Board has said that many of the passengers were sightseeing on one side of the upper deck when a wave hit from the opposite side, overturning the boat.
Life-jackets were not required on the vessel and it appeared the tourists were not wearing them at the time, an initial coroner's investigation found.
Members of the Ahousaht First Nation were first on the scene to help rescue those who survived and take in the bodies of those who died.