Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Whale lands on boat and injures three men off Port Elizabeth

Three men have been injured after a whale jumped out of the water and landed on their boat. Source: PerthNow

A BREACHING whale has leapt out of the sea off South Africa and landed on a boat, injuring three men, one seriously, officials say.

"The men claim they were motoring slowly approximately a kilometre offshore when a whale breached in front of their boat and came onto their boat, causing the boat and all three men to go under water as the whale sunk back into the water," said Ian Gray, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Port Elizabeth station commander.

NSRI used illuminating flares to find and rescue the men off Port Elizabeth, in the coastal province of the Eastern Cape.

A 41-year-old was taken to hospital in a serious condition with suspected rib fractures and injuries to his arm, leg and soft tissue.

A 25-year-old was also taken to hospital with soft tissue injuries, while the skipper, 35, had minor injuries.

"The boat has sustained extensive damage," said Gray.

While the species of whale is unknown, he said breaching humpback whales have been spotted in the area.

In 2010, a couple whale watching in waters off Cape Town got a shock when a southern right whale jumped out of the water snapping the mast on their boat.

South Africa is on the humpback's migratory route, with the ocean giants returning to Antarctic waters toward the end of the year.

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