A teenager who was struck by a breaching whale is in a coma, having suffered a broken neck and severe head injuries.
A fundraising page has been created by friend Carmen Bartley who says the 18-year-old's family has been doing it tough since the freak accident on Sunday, June 6.
The teenager, Nick, was with his step father Matt, 39, when a whale breached and landed on their boat off Narooma on the NSW South Coast. They were fishing in Matt's boat.
"They were doing what they love, what they have done hundreds of times before - early morning fishing off the coast of their home town of Narooma," Ms Bartley said.
"A whale surfaced from under the water, and landed on their boat.
"They had no warning and no idea the whale was nearby."
The pair were treated by paramedics at Apex Park boat ramp, and were rushed to hospital.
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Ms Bartley said Nick was in a coma, with a broken neck, and severe head injuries.
"At this stage, we don't know when he will wake up, or how this has affected his brain," she said.
Ms Bartley said Nick's family needed financial help.
"They are having to stay hours away from their home to be with Nick," she said.
"Medical expenses will be a burden to them financially. Nick comes from a family of extremely hard workers, and they have never asked anyone for help.
"We are all praying Nick makes a full recovery, but in the meantime, this family needs our help! Please donate and share."
Previous report from the Narooma News:
Francois Van Zyl of Underwater Safaris in Narooma, about 280 kilometres south of Sydney, was getting ready to launch his boat for a dive tour when he saw paramedics at a boat ramp on Sunday morning.
"Being a small town, I offered my assistance when I saw two gentlemen were being treated on the jetty," he said.
NSW Maritime was investigating the incident which occurred at about 7.50am.
"A whale breached and landed on two men travelling to go fishing in a 4.9 metre cabin runabout, about 500 metres off Narooma," a NSW Maritime spokesperson said.
"The younger of the men suffered critical injuries and remains in hospital.
"It is unknown whether they were wearing lifejackets at the time of the incident."
Mr Van Zyl was told a breaching whale caused damage to their boat.
He said the boat was badly damaged and that it was fortunate to have made it back to shore.
"The console area was separated from the hull," he said.
"It wasn't a very large boat, I am surprised it hadn't submerged."
NSW Ambulance said the teenage boy and 40-year-old man suffered neck and head injuries and were taken to Moruya District Hospital.
"It was very unfortunate for them to endure that stressful situation," Mr Van Zyl said.
"We live on a nature coast, where you expect to see nature and interact with it. They were at the right place at the wrong time."
Mr Van Zyl said he helped to manoeuvre boats at the Apex Park boat ramp and assisted paramedics to carry a patient to the ambulance.
Locals said they thought the injured pair had been fishing.
"Narooma paramedic staff were unbelievable and did everything they could," Mr Van Zyl said
The boat ramp at Apex Park Narooma is usually a busy spot for recreational fishers who fillet their catch.
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After helping at the scene, Mr Van Zyl continued his tour to Montague Island, about 9 kilometres away.
"It was a beautiful day, with flat and sunny conditions," he said.
"We saw lots of whales, they were everywhere.
"You would be looking at one whale and then four would pop up behind you."
June marks the beginning of humpback whales' migration from Antarctica to Queensland waters.
"They're expected to get to the Great Barrier Reef by August to give birth - it's a bit of a rush for them to get there," Mr Van Zyl said.
"They are expected in this area until July."
Adult humpback whales can be 12 to 16 metres long and weigh 25 to 30 tonnes.