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Victims remembered one year after Leviathan II tragedy in Tofino

Click to play video: 'Tofino whale-watching tragedy: One year later' Tofino whale-watching tragedy: One year later
WATCH: One year to the day after a whale-watching adventure off Tofino ended with the tragic death of six people, families of the victims and the First Nations residents who jumped to the rescue gathered to unveil a memorial plaque. Kylie Stanton reports – Oct 25, 2016

Exactly one year after a whale-watching vessel capsized near Tofino killing six people, the victims were remembered in a special ceremony in which the District of Tofino unveiled a commemorative plaque.

On Oct.25, 2015, the Leviathan II, a 20-metre cruiser vessel with 27 people on board, capsized near Plover Reefs, west of Vargas Island, sending passengers into the frigid waters. Twenty-one people were rescued, but six passengers, five British citizens and one Australian national, did not survive.

Two of the deceased were residing in Canada. Katie Taylor, 29, was living in Whistler, B.C. while Jack Slater, 76, was from Toronto.

David Thomas, 50, and his 18-year-old son Stephen, who suffered from Down’s Syndrome, were from Swindon while Nigel Hooker, 63, was visiting from Southampton.

The body of Australian tourist Raveshan Morgan Pillay, 27, was found by surfers off Vargas Island, weeks after the boat capsized.

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PHOTO: The commemorative plaque unveiled in Tofino today

The survivors were helped by members of the Ahousaht First Nation, who were widely praised for their efforts in the wake of the tragedy.

READ MORE: Tofino First Nations honored for whale-watching tragedy rescue effort

On Monday, one of the survivors, Calgary’s Dwayne Mazereeuw, arrived in Tofino to help break ground for a skateboarding park to benefit local youth as a way to say thank you to his rescuers. Mazereeuw and his wife survived by holding on to a life ring for more than 30 minutes before being pulled to safety by the Ahousaht fishermen.

WATCH: Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne speaks on the one year anniversary of the whale-watching disaster that killed six people and brought international attention to the tiny community.

Click to play video: 'Tofino mayor on community one year after whale watching disaster' Tofino mayor on community one year after whale watching disaster
Tofino mayor on community one year after whale watching disaster – Oct 25, 2016

The exact cause of Leviathan II’s capsizing is still under investigation. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is expected to release its report next year.

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At the time, it was alleged passengers and crew crowded the top deck of the vessel when it was hit by a wave, causing it to tilt and capsize. It was also alleged none of the passengers were wearing life-jackets.

READ MORE: A year later: pain from Tofino whale-boat tragedy remains

The vessel was operated by Jamie’s Whaling Station that has a history of prior accidents. In May, German brothers Christian and Dirk Barchfeld, who survived the sinking, filed a class-action lawsuit filed against the owner of the company and the boat’s captain, accusing them of negligence for allowing the Leviathan II out in treacherous ocean conditions. They are also seeking damages for psychological and physical harm.

WATCH: Survivor of Leviathan II sinking thanks his rescuers with a new skateboarding park. 

Click to play video: 'Survivor of Leviathan 2 sinking thanks rescuers with a new park' Survivor of Leviathan 2 sinking thanks rescuers with a new park
Survivor of Leviathan 2 sinking thanks rescuers with a new park – Oct 24, 2016

But the company says the incident was caused by an “act of God,” which could not have been reasonably predicted nor prevented.

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None of the allegations in the lawsuits have been proven in court.

IN DEPTH: Full coverage of the whale-watching accident off the coast of Tofino – videos and extended interviews

With files from the Canadian Press 

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