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 Myhill, 18, was on a recreational fishing vessel 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 MAYDAY call shortly after the animal made contact with the boat.
Myhill and his stepfather Matt were both transported to a local hospital where the elderly man was treated for facial pain and concussion. Myhill was later flown to another hospital where he remains in a coma.
“They had no warnings and no time to react. Both Nick and Matt were injured,”
They added: “The extent of these damages and the long-term consequences are not yet known.”
Matt sent the radio in for help using an ocean radio and immediately turned the boat toward shore as it took water.
“Matt’s actions undoubtedly saved Nick’s life,” the family said.
The family noted that the two are “experienced fishermen” and warned that it could happen to anyone.
“While inquiries are in their infancy, the incident demonstrates the dangers these mammals can pose to them on the water,” Navy Commander Commissioner Joe McNulty said in a Facebook post.
He noted that encounters with animals can be increased when whales migrate north.
“Given the close proximity to the coast, there is potential for spectacular whale watching, but we encourage anyone hoping to take a closer look to maintain a safe distance,” he added.
The NSW Police Marine Branch said they believe the whale may also have been injured during the incident and have teams investigating further.