Authorities in the east coast of Australia said on Saturday one man was dead and another injured after a whale collided with their fishing boat. New South Wales state police said the incident took place at around 6 a.m. local time in the waters off La Perouse, 14 kilometers southeast of Sydney.
People aboard another vessel spotted a 4.8-meter unoccupied boat circling in the waters and notified the police, who pulled two men: a 61-year-old unconscious passenger and a 53-year-old skipper.
Authorities said attempts to revive the first man failed and declared him dead on scene, while the skipper was taken to a hospital and was in a stable condition.
Water Police Acting Superintendent Siobhan Munro said the skipper had been trying to save his companion, holding him as close as he could.
She described the collision as a tragic accident, saying that the whale possibly breached near or even onto the boat.
New South Wales Police Minister Yasmin Catley later confirmed a whale was involved in the incident. State Emergency Services Minister Jihad Dib spoke of an absolute freak accident.
Authorities did not name the exact type of whale involved in the incident, but the country's extensive coastline hosts some 30 species of whales.
The New South Wales coastline sees humpback and southern right whales, which head north to warmer breeding grounds during the winter and return southward between September and November.
Right now there are lots of whales out there and there are lots of examples of whales breaching next to boats, Munro said.
In June, eight people were rescued after their sailboat capsized following a whale collision