UPDATED: 34 rescued off whale watching boat in Georgia Strait

Tour company says vessel experienced some kind of mechanical issue

A group of whale watchers were rescued near Bowen Island in the Georgia Strait on Tuesday after an engine fire sparked on a vessel.

According to Wild Whales Vancouver, the incident happened just before noon on its 42-foot vessel, MV Jing Yu.

The Victoria-based Joint Rescue Coordination Centre said in a tweet that Canadian Coast Guard members responded to the engine fire with the help of officials from two BC Ferries vessels.

Company staff member Zoe Ward said the 32 passengers and two staff on board were removed from the boat by the Canadian Coast Guard and returned to shore in Vancouver.

It’s believed the engines went into overdrive and stopped working, “so we had some fumes” but no flames, Ward said.