Breaching Whale Kills Tourist

Two others injured on nine-person snorkel tour in Baja

Mar 12, 2015
Outside Magazine

The breaching whale collided with a boat of tourists near shore.    Wikimedia Commons

A breaching gray whale killed a 35-year-old Canadian woman and injured two others on Wednesday. The victims were on a snorkeling boat in Baja, Mexico, near Cabo San Lucas.

The Attorney General’s Office for Environmental Protection said the boat, about 25 feet long and carrying nine tourists, was near shore when a breaching gray whale collided with it, the AP reported. The impact threw the woman in the water, according to the state prosecutor’s office. A crewmember and passenger lifted her back into the boat before Mexican Navy personnel transported her to shore. She died in a clinic during treatment.

Whales can surface unexpectedly, and boats are generally required to stay a safe distance from them. There are no rules of this kind in the area around Cabo San Lucas. Gray whales, which can grow to 50 feet and 40 tons, come to the Baja coast to breed in winter.

This is not the first time a whale has struck a small boat. In January, tourists in Maui posted a video of a humpback whale colliding with their 25-foot whale-watching rig. No one was hurt in that incident.