A teen fights for his life with a broken neck and serious head injury after a humpback whale rams into his boat, while the young man’s stepfather is praised for making the call that saved his life.
Nick (18) and Matt (39) were fishing in North Narooma, on the far south coast of New South Wales, Sunday morning when the huge mammal jumped out of the water and hit the ship’s deck.
Matt, who suffered cuts to his face and a concussion, reportedly ‘saved Nick’s life’ when he acted quickly and put out a distress call for rescue at sea.
Despite escaping death, the young man’s shattered family said in a statement to the Daily Mail Australia that he is in a coma and they don’t know if he will ever wake up.
Humpback whales can grow up to 18 meters in length and weigh up to 40 tons.
Pictured: Nick, 18, was seriously injured on Sunday when a humpback whale hit his fishing boat
Pictured: Matt, who saved his stepson Nick’s life on Sunday when a whale landed on their fishing boat
Pictured: The boat Matt and Nick were in when the whale jumped out of the water and slammed its body on the deck
‘Matt was able to get them back to shore quickly, using the VHF [radio] to make an emergency call en route to arrange an ambulance to meet them on arrival at the boat ramp,” the family said.
“Matt’s actions undoubtedly saved Nick’s life.”
Both fishermen were taken to Moruya Hospital, but the teenager was later flown to Canberra Hospital with serious injuries.
Nick is expected to be in the hospital for “some time” and his medical bills continue to mount.
Humpback whales can grow up to 18 meters long and weigh up to 40 tons (stock image)
Pictured: The damaged boat Nick and Matt were in when a humpback whale broke through the deck
The family added, “Matt and Nick are seasoned fishermen, and this was an accident that could have happened to anyone.”
Family friend Carmen Bartley founded a Go finance me campaign to help cover medical bills.
“At this stage, we don’t know when he will wake up, or how it affected his brain,” Ms Bartley said.
She explained that the family will likely have to pay for adjustments to their home to accommodate Nick’s injuries, or to move to a larger house.
Pictured: Fishing boat Nick and Matt were inside when a 40,000kg whale landed on it on Sunday zondag
“We also need to help Nick’s family survive this ordeal financially, including paying for accommodation in Canberra to be with him, hopefully without having to leave Nick’s side to get back to work too soon,” she wrote. .
Marine Area Commander Chief Inspector Joe McNulty said Maritime NSW has launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
“While the investigation is still in its infancy, the incident demonstrates the dangers these mammals can pose to those on the water,” said Supt McNulty.
“In recent days, the number of whales moving north has increased dramatically and maritime authorities have received reports of them traveling closer to shore than in previous years.
They were taken to Moruya Hospital (pictured), but the teenager was later flown to Canberra Hospital
“Given the proximity to the shoreline, there is potential for spectacular whale watching, but we recommend anyone wanting a closer look to keep a safe distance.”
It is believed that the whale may also have been injured in the incident.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service will work with the Organization for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia to monitor the mammal.
Humpback whales begin migrating from Antarctica in March and reach the warmer waters of Queensland in June.
The couple clambered to the Narooma boat ramp (stock image) and paramedics rushed them to the hospital
Authorities have urged boaters to consider the environment and maintain safe distances on the water during this season’s migration.
Supt McNulty reminded coastal residents not to approach a whale and to stay on a boat at least 100 meters away, and on a jet ski 300 km away.
“For those lucky enough to see from above, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) should not come closer than 100 meters,” he said.
Other aircraft must maintain a distance of 300 meters, except helicopters and gyrocopters, which must maintain a distance of 500 meters.