Humpback whale injures three women in Australia

Three women have been left injured by a humpback whale after swimming in an Australian reef.

According to the Nine Network television station, a 50ft mother whale swam towards a group of snorkelers in the Ningaloo Reef, near the town of Exmouth, last Saturday.

It’s thought that the whale became concerned about protecting her calf and thrashed her tail.

A 29-year-old woman was struck by the tail and sustained fractured ribs and internal bleeding.

She was flown to a Perth hospital the next day and remained in a serious but stable condition.

A second swimmer was struck by the same whale’s pectoral fin, which tore her hamstring.

Earlier this week, on Thursday, another swimmer, Alicia Ramsay, was snorkelling near the reef when she was approached by the whale and her calf.

She told Nine News: “The calf decided to come check us out ended up being between us and the mum, so mum went into protective mode and swung back.

“As she did that to put herself between us and the calf, her fin came out and got me.”

Ms Ramsay is being treated for rib fractures in hospital, newspaper WA Today added.

The Western Australian state government licenses tour operators and sets conditions including keeping swimmers a safe distance from whales that they observe.

The government’s Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions said it was working closely with the industry and the tour operator involved to understand how the incidents occurred.

“Swimming with humpback whales involves some inherent risk,” a department statement said.

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