Two women have been injured after a humpback whale charged a snorkelling group to protect her calf off the Western Australian coast.
The whale-watching snorkel tour was taking place off Exmouth on the state’s North West Cape.
The mother whale, 15-metres long, swam at the group to interpose herself between the snorkelers and her calf.
She slapped her pectoral fin and her tail on the water in a defensive display, Ningaloo Whaleshark Swim owner Matt Winter told .
The tail hit a 29-year-old woman, who suffered a fractured rib and internal bleeding.
Another woman hit by the fin tore a hamstring.
“It’s never happened before, it may never happen again,” Mr Winter said.
Mr Winter said the calf was about eight or nine metres long. Western Australian regulations order swimmers to endeavour to keep a minimum of 100m between themselves and a whale.
Passengers spoke to insisted the company had done everything correctly.
An investigation is underway.