An Australian teenager is in critical condition after a whale broke and landed on the boat he was on board on Sunday, CNN reports.
Nick Mayhill, 18, was on a recreational fishing boat off the south coast of New South Wales at the time of the incident, about 200 miles south of Sydney. Local law enforcement received a call on MONDAY shortly after the animal made contact with the boat.
Michael and his stepfather Matt were transported to a local hospital, where the elderly man was treated for facial tears and concussions. Michael was later airlifted to another hospital, where he remained in a coma.
“They didn’t have a warning and didn’t have time to react. Nick and Matt were injured,”
They added, “The extent of these injuries and the long-term consequences are not yet known.”
Matt called for help using a marine radio, and immediately turned the boat ashore as he picked up water.
“Matt’s actions undoubtedly saved Nick’s life,” the family said.
The family noted that the two are “experienced fishermen” and warned that this could happen to anyone.
“While investigations are in their infancy, the incident shows the dangers these mammals can pose to those in the water,” Marine Zone Commander Joe McNulty said in a Facebook post.
He noted that encounters with animals could increase as whales migrate north.
“Given its close proximity to the coastline, there is potential for spectacular whale watching, but we encourage anyone who hopes to take a closer look to keep a safe distance,” he added.
The naval branch of the NSW police said that they believe that the whale was also injured during the incident and the teams are investigating further.