An 18-year-old man from NSW is fighting for his life in a coma after he was crushed by a whale in a freak accident on the state's south coast.
Nick and Matt were fishing in waters off Narooma just after 9am on Sunday when the whale surfaced and landed on their boat.
Both men were injured and the boat was taking on water, but 39-year-old Matt managed to navigate back to a boat ramp.
Nick, 18, was rushed to hospital in critical condition with a broken neck and severe head injuries. He remains in a coma at Canberra Hospital.
Matt, reported by Seven News to be the teen's stepdad, escaped with a concussion and cuts to his head.
Pair didn't know whale was nearby
Family friend Carmen Bartley said Nick and Matt "had no warning and no idea the whale was nearby".
"Nick (who is about to turn 19) and Matt were doing what they love. What they have done hundreds of times before," Ms Bartley said in an GoFundMe appeal for donations to help cover Nick's medical expenses."At this stage, we don't know when he will wake up, or how this has affected his brain.
"Matt's quick thinking and actions saved Nick's life. But now Nick's family need help.
"They are having to stay hours away from their home to be with Nick. Medical expenses will be a burden to them financially."
Police urge skippers to be careful
Police have told skippers to be aware of surroundings and maintain safe distances during this year's whale migration season.
Marine Area Commander Superintendent Joe McNulty said the recent incident, which is being investigated, "demonstrates the dangers these mammals can pose to those on the water."
“In recent days, the number of whales migrating north has dramatically increased, and maritime authorities have received reports they’re travelling closer to the coast than in previous years," he said.
“Given the close proximity to the shoreline, there is potential for some spectacular whale watching, but we encourage anyone hoping to get a closer look to maintain a safe distance as outlined in the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017.”
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