A snorkeler off Queensland, Australia, is fortunate to have escaped injury when a humpback whale calf breached and nearly splashed down directly on top of him.
Connor Lyons, 19, was freediving with two friends Wednesday off Noosa Heads when the mother humpback whale and her 1-ton calf swiftly approached.
“The calf was coming so fast at us… we couldn’t kick fast enough,” Lyons told 9 News. “And when the whale popped up it landed back down on my left leg and knocked my fin off.”
The divers were returning to their boat when they spotted both whales in the distance. They did not intend to dive with the whales, Lyons said, but the whales approached before they could exit the water.
The calf, most likely exhibiting playful behavior, breached almost on top of Lyons.
“I got in just enough kicks to avoid the whale, but it just clipped me and I lost my flipper,” the diver recalled. “The force created a little tornado and pulled me under for a second.”
Lyons is extremely fortunate that it was a breaching calf, and not a breaching mom. Adult humpback whales, which also like to breach, can measure 50-plus feet and weigh as much as 40 tons.