Ian Gray, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Port Elizabeth station commander reported that the men “Were motoring slowly approximately a kilometre offshore when a whale breached in front of their boat and came onto their boat, causing the boat and all three men to go under water as the whale sunk back into the water,”

Mr Gray said that the men’s boat had suffered extensive damage and that the NSRI were forced to use illuminating flares to locate the injured men floating in the ocean.

A 41 year old man was rushed to hospital with serious injuries including suspected rib fractures, an injured arm and soft tissue damage.

A 25 year old on the boat was also taken to hospital with similar soft tissue injuries but is in a stable condition.

The captain of the boat escaped with only mild injuries from the incident.

The seas off the coast of South Africa’s Eastern Cape is on the humpback whales migratory route from the warmer southern waters to the food rich Atlantic ocean.

Whilst incidents of breaching whales sinking seacraft is extremely rare this is not the first time incidents of this nature have occured in this stretch of water. 

A couple partaking in a spot of whale watching had the mast of their boat snapped by a southern wright whale off the coast of Cape Town in 2010.