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HomeNewsTragedy as man dies after boat capsizes following 'collision with breaching whale'

Tragedy as man dies after boat capsizes following 'collision with breaching whale'


A man has died and another was taken to hospital after a boat believed to have been struck by a whale capsized.

The deadly incident happened on Friday evening in the waters off Cape Banks – which is part of Botany Bay National Park at La Perouse, Australia.

Police rushed on site at approximately 9pm BST on Friday (6am on Saturday local time) after being alerted that two people were in the water near Botany Bay.

New South Wales (NSW) Water Police Acting Superintendent Siobhan Munro said: “When police arrived, the two male persons from a vessel were rescued.”

A 61-year-old was unconscious when he was found, and was declared dead after attempts to revive him were unsuccessful, NSW police said.

The second man, a 53-year-old, was initially helped by witnesses before the arrival of paramedics, who took him to hospital in a stable condition.

The 4.8-metre boat, which had attracted the attention of a person aboard a nearby vessel after it was spotted “doing laps” in the waters without anybody on board, has been recovered and will now undergo forensic testing, Ms Munro explained.

Speaking further about the circumstances surrounding the incident, the officer added: “Early reports are that a whale may have breached near the boat or onto the boat.”

Ms Munro also noted there are currently more whales than usual in Sydney’s waters.

She said: “Right now there are lots of whales out there [so] it’s not unheard of these stories of whales breaching next to boats”.

Similarly, Mark Hutchings, executive director of local government agency NSW Maritime which is responsible for marine safety, said there has been an “incredible” number of whales migrating south this year.

He said: “National Parks would say if you are on the water you need to be 100m away from an adult whale and 300m away if that adult has a calf.”

His organisation is raising awareness of the importance of carrying all necessary safety gear whenever people take their boats out after the Australian winter, and Mr Hutchings added: “Unfortunately we have had five fatalities quite recently. Not one of for those persons that lost their lives were wearing a life jacket.”

During her press conference hours after the incident, Ms Munro said it hadn’t yet been confirmed whether the two men involved in the incident were wearing life jackets.

The incident at sea was “terribly tragic”, said Yasmin Catley, the NSW minister for police.

She added: “We understand that one person is deceased, and our deepest condolences go to that deceased person’s family.”

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