Two injured as whale hits boat in Australia
BRISBANE – Two people were injured and their boat suffered extensive damage after it collided with a humpback whale off the Brisbane coast, marine rescue officials said on Monday.
The incident happened when a 10-metre (32-foot) marine rescue vessel with four people on board was called out to assist another boat on Sunday evening and hit the whale near North Stradbroke Island.
“It has come off a wave and as it came down a whale has come up from underneath it,” Marine Rescue Queensland vice-president Tony Hawkins told reporters.
“It’s the most significant damage I’ve seen in 30 years and it will cost about Aus$70,000 to Aus$100,000 (US$74,000-106,000) to repair.
“Luckily no one was tipped out or seriously hurt. The safety and integrity of the vessel cannot be questioned after surviving that.”
The boat sustained significant damage to its hull and travelled in reverse back to base to prevent it taking on water and sinking.
One crew member dislocated his shoulder while another suffered facial cuts.
It was not known how badly the whale was injured.
Humpback and southern right whales migrate along Australia’s east coast each year, passing Stradbroke Island as they head north away from Antarctica to the more temperate, sub-tropical climates of north Queensland during June and July.
They return south between September and November.