Man killed after whale strikes with boat in ‘absolute freak accident’

A man has been killed in an “absolute freak accident” after a whale struck the side of his boat.

Stuart Collings, 61 and his brother-in-law Darren Curmi, 52 were boating off the coast of Botany Bay in Sydney, Australia on Saturday (September 30). A whale crashed into the runabout boat and sent them overboard. Mr Collings was knocked unconscious and kept afloat by Mr Curmi until rescuers could reach them after approximately 45 minutes in the water.

Emergency services were alerted to the accident following reports of an unmanned boat driving "in circles". They also received reports that two men were in the water.

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Paramedics pulled the pair from the water and performed CPR on Mr Collings. Sadly it was unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Curmi was transported to a hospital in stable condition for monitoring, police said. According to Sky News, Emergency Services Minister Jihad Dib described the incident as “an absolute freak accident”. New South Wales Police said in a statement: “The runabout vessel was likely to have struck or been impacted by a whale breaching, causing the boat to tilt, ejecting both men.

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“About 6 a.m., Water Police responded to reports two people were in the water after an unoccupied boat was found circling in waters off Cape Banks at La Perouse,” Video captured the runaway boat skipping through the choppy water.

“There are lots of whales out there,” Acting Police Superintendent Siobhan Munro said. “It is not unheard of the stories of whales breaching next to boats, which is obviously captured quite often.

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“So this is a tragic accident but not one that I guess would be… unexpected. We were fishing out there and we heard a big bang early in the morning, and then we saw a boat capsize and something big come from out of the water,” George Mourad told 9News.

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