‘Traumatic’: Whale hits tourist boat

 

A family of four narrowly escaped death after their small boat collided with a humpback whale while boating near Juneau in Alaska.

The boat, which was carrying a family of four, collided with the giant mammal just outside of Auke Bay. It is understood the whale suddenly resurfaced in front of the small boat, which tried to turn to avoid it.

"The operator was able to get it started and get back to … the harbour they started from, and then my crew was called," local fire rescue Assistant Chief Travis Mead told CNN.

The 6m boat, which was going around 40km/h before the collision, left several on board with injuries.

Humpback whales are common during summer in Alaska.
Humpback whales are common during summer in Alaska.

"At least three people were transported to the hospital with some type of traumatic injury and at least one of those people was medevaced to another hospital," he said. According to local media, two of the injured were discharged from Bartlett Regional Hospital later that day but the other was flown to Harborview Medical Centre in Seattle for treatment.

Humpback whales are common in the southern Alaskan waters at this time of year, when they migrate from the waters around Hawaii and Baja California to feed. This migration makes Alaska a popular place for whale watching, meaning collisions are not uncommon.

According to Anchorage Daily News, two vessels struck whales off the Alaskan coast last year. While these strikes usually leave a whale with a few scars, they can be fatal for the people on board the boat.

According to CNN, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries said the last time someone had to be transported to hospital due to a whale incident was 10 to 12 years ago when a humpback fully breached on top of a boat.

Originally published as 'Traumatic': Whale hits tourist boat


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