Harrowing new details have emerged of how a fisherman desperately clung to his dying brother-in-law for 45 minutes after a massive whale landed on top of their boat and knocked them into the water.
Water Police rushed to the scene at Cape Banks in La Perouse, south of Sydney’s CBD, at about 6am on Saturday following reports two men were in the water at Botany Bay.
Stuart Collings, 61, and his brother-in-law Darren Curmi, 53, were thrown into the water in the dark.
Mr Collings was knocked unconscious during the impact as Mr Curmi held his brother-in-law above water for 45 minutes as he desperately called for help.
Footage has emerged by the stricken vessel running laps of the area as the men waited to be rescued.
Mr Collings was pulled from the water but sadly died at the scene, despite desperate efforts to revive him.
Mr Curmi, 53, rescued and was taken to St George Hospital in a stable condition.
It’s understood the brothers-in-law were just half an hour into their fishing trip when tragedy struck.
Shocked witnesses also on the water just outside the heads at Botany Bay told heard a ‘big bang’ before the 4.8m boat tipped over.
‘Something big came out of the water, it was huge,’ one told The Daily Telegraph.
‘It was still dark but you could see this big black shape jump out of the water.’
Water Police Acting Superintendent Siobhan Munro said the whale breached near or onto the ‘run-about’ boat, causing it to flip.
‘Right now there are lots of whales out there and there’s lots of examples of whales breaching next to boats … but this is tragic accident,’ she said.
Police Minister Yasmin Catley shared condolences to the deceased man’s family in a press conference later Saturday morning.
‘It’s very early stages and it’s very little information we know at this point in time,’ she said.
‘[We] were advised early a whale has been involved, who would have thought that would’ve occurred?
‘It’s terribly tragic and we feel for those family and friends.
‘This morning two guys got up to to go out and enjoy themselves fishing, something I and most people in NSW love to do, and ended up in tragic set of circumstances.’
The Foreshore Road Boat Ramp at Botany and its surrounding roads were closed as police launched an investigation.
Officers pulled two men from the water in Botany Bay, in southeast Sydney, early Saturday morning (pictured, emergency services at the scene)
The second man was pulled from the water and taken to hospital by NSW Ambulance paramedics in a stable condition (pictured, emergency services at the scene)
Water Police were called to the scene at about 6am and officers pulled the deceased man from the water unconscious (pictured, emergency services near the Foreshore Road Boat Ramp)
NSW Maritime executive director Mark Hutchings said there is an ‘incredible’ number of whales were migrating along the east coast this year.
‘If you are on the water you need to be 100m away from an adult whale, and 300 metres if that whale has a calf,’ he said.
‘The whales aren’t there to harm anyone, but those interactions can happen.’
One man died and another hospitalised after their boat struck a whale and flipped off Sydney’s coast (pictured, Water Police and paramedics at the scene)