Whale watching vessel strikes humpback whale off Victoria

A whale watching vessel struck a humpback whale in the waters off of Victoria on Monday.

Prince of Whales Whale Watching said it happened at around 2:45p.m. It says one of the company’s  smaller zodiac vessels was in an area near Race Rocks Ecological Reserve watching another humpback whale.

“After about three minutes of the vessel transiting away from the animal that was spotted, the vessel struck what was thought to be a humpback whale,” said Ben Duthie, operations manager for the tour company. “That animal had not been previously observed, and happened to surface immediately in front of the vessel.”

The boat was reportedly going between 25-35 knots an hour.

Two people are said to have been transported to hospital with injuries.

Duthie called it an “unpredicted, isolated incident” because the whale was not observed in the area before it surfaced, and said it was the first time it’s happened to one of the company’s tour boats in 22 years of operation.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Transport Safety Board are both aware of the collision and are investigating.

DFO told CTV News an initial investigation has determined that the whale was unhurt in the collision.

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