An 18-year-old from Australia is in critical condition after a whale leaped from the sea onto his fishing boat.
Nick Myhill had been out on the water with his stepfather Matt off the coast of Narooma, about 200 miles south of Sydney, on Sunday, June 6. Just after 9.00am, Marine Rescue NSW received a mayday call after a breaching whale landed on their vessel.
The teenager sustained a broken back and serious head injuries in the incident, and remains in ‘critical but stable condition,’ while his stepdad was treated for facial lacerations and concussion.
According to the Marine Rescue NSW’s Facebook page, ‘The 39-year-old male skipper advised that his 18-year-old male passenger had sustained a serious head injury and was trying to navigate back to the boat ramp despite the vessel taking on water,’ during the mayday call.
Paramedics met the pair at the boat ramp, with Myhill later airlifted from Moruya Hospital to Canberra Hospital.
It’s believed the whale may have also been injured, with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service saying it will work with Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia should any assistance be required.
Myhill’s family told CNN: ‘They had no warning, and no time to react. Both Nick and Matt were injured. Matt was able to quickly get them back to shore, using the VHF (very high frequency marine radio) to make a mayday call on the way, to organise an ambulance to meet them on arrival at the boat ramp. Matt’s actions no doubt saved Nick’s life.’
While thanking the emergency officials, the family added: ‘The extent of these injuries, and long term implications is not known yet. Matt and Nick are seasoned fishermen, and this was an accident that could have happened to anyone… Nick is a strong young man, and he is fighting hard.’
A GoFundMe has been launched to help Myhill’s mother and stepfather financially as they support the teen in the coming months. It’s already raised nearly $17,000. ‘Medical expenses will be a burden to them financially. Nick comes from a family of extremely hard workers, and they have never asked anyone for help,’ it reads.
Marine Area Commander Superintendent Joe McNulty said: ‘The incident demonstrates the dangers these mammals can pose to those on the water. In recent days, the number of whales migrating north has dramatically increased, and maritime authorities have received reports they’re traveling closer to the coast than in previous years.’
According to the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017, those in a vessel must stay at least 100m away from a whale.
Featured Image Credit: GoFundMe
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