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She Got Sandwiched Between Whales, Is Recovering

Woman in Australia is injured while swimming with humpbacks
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2020 7:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – Swimming with seals is a thing. Swimming with whales? It's a far riskier prospect, as an Australian woman just found out. The 29-year-old suffered serious injuries—internal bleeding and fractured ribs—after getting sandwiched between two humpback whales off the coast of western Australia, reports 7News. She was swimming with a tour group at the popular Ningaloo Reef when the "crush" occurred, say police. Chartered swimming with humpbacks is currently in the midst of a five-year trial period in that area of Australia, and this is the first injury among an estimated 10,000 swimmers, notes the BBC.

Police and wildlife officials are investigating what went wrong given that rules stipulate swimmers stay at least 15 yards from the whales. Humpbacks, plentiful in the region, can grow more than 50 feet long, though they are generally considered safe to swim near, per the BBC. The injured woman is hospitalized in serious but stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery. (In the US, members of a family were injured when their boat collided with a humpback.)

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