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Man dies after boat ‘collides with whale’ in Botany Bay

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A 61-year-old man is dead and another has been taken to hospital after a whale reportedly struck their boat, flinging the pair into Botany Bay in Sydney’s east on Saturday morning.

Emergency services responded to reports two people were in the water after passengers in a nearby vessel noticed an empty boat circling the bay near Cape Banks at La Perouse about 6am.

“Early reports are that a whale may have breached near the boat, or onto the boat,” NSW Police acting Superintendent Siobhan Munro said on Saturday.

Police said in a statement the likely collision had caused the boat to tilt, ejecting both men.

The 61-year-old man was pulled from the water unconscious and could not be revived.

A second man, 53, was treated by paramedics and taken to hospital in a stable condition.

Police and paramedics responded to reports two people were in the water off La Perouse.

Police and paramedics responded to reports two people were in the water off La Perouse.Credit: TNV

Munro said passengers on board a passing boat noticed the pair’s 4.8-metre motorboat circling in the water without anyone on board. They alerted emergency services and tried to help the pair.

She said the man who survived the incident was in shock when police arrived to pluck the men from the water. They had likely been in the water for up to 45 minutes before they were rescued.

“I believe the skipper stayed as close as he could to the deceased and was doing all he could to keep him afloat until police arrived.”

Munro said the boat had been seized for forensic tests.

“This is a tragic accident. The detectives from the marine area command will have carriage of this matter and will find out the exact circumstances of how this occurred,” she said.

The Foreshore Road boat ramp at Botany remains closed as police continue their inquiries.

NSW Maritime executive director Mark Hutchings said an “incredible” number of whales were migrating south past Sydney this year, and encouraged boaters to keep a safe distance.

“If you are on the water you need to be 100 metres away from an adult whale, and 300 [metres] if that whale has a calf.

“The whales aren’t there to harm anyone, but those interactions can happen.”

Police seized the pair’s motorboat for forensic tests.

Police seized the pair’s motorboat for forensic tests.Credit: TNV

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