Breaching Whale Hits Boat: DNews Nugget

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Breaching Whale Hits Boat:

A breaching whale leapt out of the sea off South Africa and landed on a boat Monday, injuring three men, one seriously, sea rescue officials said.

"The men claim they were motoring slowly approximately a kilometer off-shore 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, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (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. South Africa is on the humpback's migratory route, with the ocean giants returning to Antarctic waters toward the end of the year.

–by AFP

IMAGE: Humpback whale breaching. (NOAA)

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