State and federal emergency responders helped get 45 passengers off of a 60-foot whale watching boat Thursday afternoon after the boat took on water.

Coast Guard and state Department of Fish & Wildlife responders said the boat, out of Victoria, British Columbia, had beached at Smith Island, west of Whidbey and south of Lopez islands, as of 1:30 p.m.

As of 2 p.m., Fish & Wildlife Sgt. Russ Mullins said two of his department’s marine patrol boats and a Customs and Border Protection boat helped move the passengers from the whale watching boat to a large Coast Guard vessel.

The passengers were then moved from the Coast Guard vessel to two other whale watching boats to get them back to Victoria, Mullins said.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi said the Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter, two 45-foot boats and the larger vessel to the scene from Port Angeles and Bellingham.

Mullins said those on board the whale watching boat said it hit a rock and started taking on water. The crew then beached the boat at the nearby island.

No injuries were reported.


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