Teenager hit on the head by a whale!


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A 13-year-old boy was knocked unconscious after being hit on the head by a Humpback whale!

Drew Hall was on a family fishing trip off the north coast of New South Wales on Sunday morning when they spotted a large number of whales swimming further out.

A little later they decided to move their boat to look for a better fishing spot, when a whale's tail suddenly emerged from the water, came down and took the top of the 5.2m/17' boat off.

Drew's mum, Karen, said the tail actually "whacked Drew to the floor of the boat".

Drew was left unconscious and for a while he didn't seem to be moving or breathing. Karen said that she feared he was dead. ""All of a sudden he made this gurgling noise and he started to cough and splutter."

It took the boat half an hour to reach the shore where they were met by an ambulance.

Drew had a badly broken collarbone, a huge lump on his chest and an "egg"-sized lump on his head.

He reckons he's lucky to be alive, but also that: "...it's pretty unlucky to get hit by a whale out in the middle of the ocean!"

Geoff Ross from National Parks and Wildlife told ABC North Coast that it's very rare for whales to attack boats.

He thinks it's possible that this whale may have been harassed by other people or boats before the incident and that it may have surfaced and been frightened.

"It would have reacted to try to dive very quickly. When whales dive, the flukes come up and then they slap down very hard," Geoff said.

In a large adult Humpback, the flukes can easily be 5-6m across, he reckons.

Geoff says exclusion distances are legislated and state that people shouldn't get any closer than 100m to a moving whale.

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