A teenager is in a coma with a broken neck and serious head injuries after his boat was hit by a whale as it breached on the New South Wales south coast.
The 18-year-old was critically injured in the incident near Narooma on Sunday morning after the whale landed on the deck of their small boat.
A 39-year-old man also suffered a concussion and cuts to his face during the incident.
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The skipper made an emergency call via marine radio around 9am before the boat made its way back to the boat ramp at Narooma.
Both men were taken by paramedics to Moruya Hospital before the 18-year-old was later airlifted to Canberra Hospital.
He remains in a critical condition.
NSW Police Marine Area Commander Superintendent Joe McNulty says it highlights the danger that whales can pose during their annual migration.
“In recent days, the number of whales migrating north has dramatically increased, and maritime authorities have received reports they’re travelling closer to the coast than in previous years,” Superintendent McNulty said.
“Given the close proximity to the shoreline, there is potential for some spectacular whale watching, but we encourage anyone hoping to get a closer look to maintain a safe distance.”
It’s believed the whale may have also been injured during the incident with animal welfare groups attempting to track it down along the coast.