A breaching whale on Saturday capsized a nearly 15-foot-long boat off the coast of Australia, leaving one dead and another in hospital, officials said.
“At 6am this morning, police responded to reports of two people in the water,” NSW Water Police Deputy Superintendent Siobhan Munro told a news conference about the incident off the coast of La Perouse, about nine miles south-east of Sydney. .
He said the two men who were fishing were rescued, but one was unresponsive and confirmed dead after efforts to revive him failed.
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“Early reports are that a whale may have breached near the vessel or the vessel” when it capsized, he added, saying the vessel has been recovered and will undergo a forensic examination “and then we will have more details” about what happened.
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The victim was 61 and the survivor is 53, who is in a stable condition, officials said, according to the BBC.
“There are a lot of whales out there at the moment. These stories of whales breaching next to boats are not unheard of,” Munro added, saying she had never seen anything like this before, according to the Guardian and the BBC.
According to reports, the men may have been in the water for up to 45 minutes before being rescued.
“The governor stayed as close as he could to the dead man and did everything he could to keep him alive until the police arrived,” he added.
NSW Emergency Services Minister Jihad Deeb described the incident as “an absolutely horrific accident”.
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“But it also shows the dangers that occur in waterways,” he added.