Boat strikes whale in Washington

WHIDBEY ISLAND. Wash. (KING) – Hundreds of whale watchers were shocked to see a speeding boat hit a whale Sunday morning near Washington’s Whidbey Island.

“We were watching the whales, and then this guy comes blowing through really fast,” Lisa Shannon said. She was aboard San Juan Clipper. “We were all commenting, ‘What’s that guy doing.'”

The impact sent the boat into the air.

“It looked like he was headed straight for the whale, and he was, and he hit it, and we were just shocked,” Shannon said. “He hit the whale at full speed. It seemed like he sped up to get through the boats like they were in his way.”

A naturalist aboard the San Juan Clipper boat took pictures of the vessel operator. Those were sent to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, along with the video. Wildlife agents were able to track the boater down. WDFW says they’ve taken a statement from the driver and he was cooperating with their investigation of the incident.

It’s impossible to tell if the whale has internal injuries, and it will likely be weeks before anyone knows for sure if it will survive.

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