A 45-year-old Canadian woman was killed in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, after a gray whale crashed into the tourist boat. The whale was said to be jumping into the air as it surfaced, but instead of landing back in the water, the whale landed on the boat. As a result of the horrific whale-boat crash, a female tourist was mortally injured.
According to USA Today, the woman was in a boat loaded with tourists when the whale jumped from the water and landed in the boat around noon. The boat was said to be returning to port when the incident occurred. Firefighter commander Juan Carvajal Figueroa noted that Mexican navy members immediately responded to the scene and took the injured woman to a clinic for treatment. However, the woman succumbed to her injuries and passed away during her treatment.
Global News notes that the identity of the woman has not been released and the Department of Foreign Affairs has not responded to inquiries regarding the horrific incident.
According to Wild Whales Cetacean Sightings Network, the gray whales in Mexico at this time are likely starting their spring migration to Alaska.
“In the spring, gray whales leave the winter breeding grounds in Mexico and migrate north towards Alaska.”
The gray whale is a noted endangered species in the area with many dying from collisions with large ships.
“Oil and gas development, entanglement in fishing gear, and collisions with ships threaten gray whales. The western North Pacific gray whale is on the verge of extinction because of such threats. The waters off Russia’s Sakhalin Island, a main feeding habitat for them in the summer, are being targeted for oil and gas development. In the eastern Pacific Ocean, the potential for oil and gas exploration in the Bering and Chukchi Seas also exists. Whales are very sensitive to noise and such industrial activities generate massive underwater booms. The gray whale must get an entire year’s worth of food during those summer months and any disruption could have significant impact on this process.”
The National Geographic notes that an adult gray whale can be between 40-50 feet long and weighs approximately 36 tonnes. Therefore, an adult gray whale could do serious damage to a tourist boat in a crash event.
The tourist’s death is tragic; however, it is noted that the event was a freak accident, and the boat was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Did you know that gray whales could jump so high during surfacing that they could land on a boat?