Man dies after boat overturned by whale in Australia


One man died and another was in hospital on Saturday in Australia after a whale struck and flipped their boat during a fishing expedition, authorities said.

Police said one man was pulled unconscious from Botany Bay, off the coast of Sydney, and later died, while the vessel’s skipper was taken to hospital in a stable condition.

“A whale has been involved, whoever would have thought that that would have occurred, it’s terribly tragic,” said New South Wales Police Minister Yasmin Catley.

People on a second boat raised the alarm after spotting the 4.8-metre runabout vessel unoccupied and circling, police said.

The skipper had been trying to hold his boating companion “as close as he could” in an effort to save him, Water Police Acting Superintendent Siobhan Munro said.

The boat “was likely to have struck or been impacted by a whale breaching, causing the boat to tilt, ejecting both men”, police said in a statement. It did not identify the whale’s species.

State Emergency Services Minister Jihad Dib said it was “an absolute freak accident”.

45 whales stranded on Australia beach euthanised after rescue fails

Australia’s extensive coastline hosts 10 large and 20 smaller species of whales. While human deaths caused by whales in the region are rare, Australia and neighbouring New Zealand are hotspots for mass whale strandings on beaches.

Humpback and southern right whales can be seen along the New South Wales coastline every year.

They head north to warmer breeding grounds during Australia’s winter months, returning southwards between September and November.

“Right now there are lots of whales out there and there are lots of examples of whales breaching next to boats,” Munro said.


Nearly 100 beached whales wash ashore in Western Australia, with half dying overnight

Nearly 100 beached whales wash ashore in Western Australia, with half dying overnight

The accident came less than two weeks after a four-metre humpback whale was struck in the head by a boat propeller off the coast of Western Australia.

In June, eight Danes were rescued when their sailing boat capsized in the Pacific Ocean after a collision with one or two whales.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse


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