TWO brothers are lucky to be alive after being speared by a marlin when it leapt out of the ocean and landed in their inflatable boat on the NSW north coast.
The men, aged 46 and 48, were in a five-metre rigid hull inflatable boat, travelling through the Solitary Islands Marine Park off Coffs Harbour about midday on Wednesday when the freak collision occurred.
In a statement, NSW Police said the men were travelling at about 40km/h when a large marlin weighing up to 100kg shot out of the water in front of them and “crashed” into their vessel.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
Police said the marlin’s sharp sword-like snout sliced open the younger man’s arm, causing an “open fracture”, before spearing straight through his brother’s shoulder.
The fish then scrambled off the boat and back into the water, police said.
Westpac Rescue Helicopter aircrew member Michael Kerry told the ABC the 46-year-old saw the fish “at the very last moment” and raised his arm to protect his head.
“That’s when the fish has impacted and caused most of the damage,” Mr Kerry said. “He has a very deep laceration to that arm as well as fractures.”
The man was flown to Coffs Harbour Hospital in a serious but stable condition while his older brother was taken to the same hospital by ambulance.
“It all happened so fast that they didn’t really know what had happened to them,” Mr Kerry told the ABC.
“All they saw was this big fish jump out of the water and hit right into them. Talk about the fish that got away.”
A third man, also 46, who was also on the boat at the time managed to escape the collision unharmed and pilot the vessel back to shore.