A Canadian woman was killed and two others were injured after a whale emerged from the water and slammed into the tourist boat they were traveling in off the coast of Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, Mexico, Agence France-Presse reported Thursday. The boat’s captain and another tourist jumped into the water after 35-year-old Jennifer Carren was thrown into Bahia San Lucas, but the Canadian tourist later died Wednesday at a hospital, according to the news wire service.
Two other tourists were hurt during the incident, Sky News reported, but the extent of their injuries was unclear. The whale, believed to have been a gray whale, jumped out of the water in front of the tourist boat and hit the side of the vessel, according to owner Cabo Aventura.
Gray whales must come up to the surface to breathe, according to National Geographic, and that is likely what the whale was doing when it smashed into the tourist boat and killed Carren and hurt two others.
Gray whales, a type of baleen whale, are considered an endangered species, and they migrate in the winter along the west coast of the United States and Mexico “to breed and have their calves,” according to the World Wildlife Fund. The whales can swim up to 12,000 miles between feeding and breeding. Their migratory patterns take them from the waters off the coast of Alaska to Mexico, according to National Geographic. The mammals range in size from 40 feet to 50 feet and weigh between 30 tons to 40 tons.
Gray whales stay close to shore, making them easy targets for hunters. The grey whale population dwindled toward extinction before a hunting ban was established in 1947, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Since then, the gray whale population in the eastern Pacific Ocean “has rebounded dramatically” to some 20,000 whales in the 1990s, according to the NRDC, but there are fewer than 100 adult gray whales in the western Pacific Ocean.