SYDNEY (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – One man died and another was hospitalized in Australia on Saturday after a whale struck and capsized 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 other was taken to hospital in a stable condition.
“There was a whale involved, anyone would have thought this would happen, it’s terribly tragic,” NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley said.
State Emergency Services Minister Jihad Dib said it was “an absolutely freak accident”.
The boat “likely struck or was struck by a whale that ruptured, causing the boat to tip, ejecting both men,” police said in a statement. It did not identify the whale’s species.
Australia’s extensive coastline is home to 10 large and 20 smaller whale species. While human deaths caused by whales in the region are rare, Australia and neighboring New Zealand are hotspots for mass whale strandings on beaches.
Eight Danes were rescued in June when their sailing boat capsized in the Pacific Ocean after a collision with one or two whales.
(Reporting by Sam McKeith in Sydney; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and William Mallard)