A breaching whale landed on a boat in Sinaloa on Saturday injuring tourists and doing severe damage to the vessel.
The large mammal leapt in the air to perform one of its characteristic acrobatic jumps at around 6 p.m. in Topolobampo bay in the Gulf of California, 235 kilometers northwest of Culiacán, but crashed into the back end of the small boat on its descent, causing it to almost capsize.
Two men and two women traveling on board were injured and and taken to hospital in Los Mochis and at least one of the men, a former councilor on the Ahome municipal government, was seriously injured.
The vessel’s roof had collapsed and some of the railing were mangled.
The whale had entered the bay a few days earlier. The coordinator of Civil Protection in Ahome, Omar Mendoza Silva, said the whale felt harassed by the proximity of the boat and the port authority in Topolobampo ordered boat captains to keep a prudent distance from the mammals.
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The mayor of Ahome, Gerardo Vargas, asked people to respect the whales. “Please do not get too close to the whales. We can enjoy their beauty, but at a distance, prudently,” he said.
The tourism authority of Ahome also called on operators to be more careful near the mammals. “For your safety we ask the maritime community of the Port of Topolobampo to take precautions in the waters of the bay to avoid accidents like the one that occurred this afternoon …” it said in a statement released on Saturday.
The area is well known as a place for whalewatching. Pacific gray, humpback and blue whales migrate to Mexican territorial waters to breed from mid-December to the end of March, depending on the location. In some areas, the season doesn’t end until May.
This was the first incident of its kind recorded in the bay. Three weeks earlier, a boat accidentally collided with a whale in La Paz, Baja California Sur, also in the Gulf of California, injuring five of the six people on board.