Three men injured after a whale jumped onto the front of their boat near Cape Town

A whale that jumped out of the water onto a passing leisure boat has injured three men off the coast of South Africa.

A 41-year-old man who suffered suspected rib fractures and injuries to his arm and leg was taken to hospital in a serious condition along with a fellow boater with soft tissue injuries. The skipper escaped with minor injuries.

The men were cruising near Port Elizabeth, east of Cape Town, when the whale landed on their motor boat, according to a Sky News report.

“The men claim they were motoring slowly off-shore 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,” said Ian Gray, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Port Elizabeth station commander.

While the species of the whale has not been identified, South Africa sits on the migratory route for humpback whales, a species known for breaching and slapping the water.

An adult humpback whale ranges between 12 and 16 metres (39-52 ft) in length and weigh approximately 36,000 kilograms (79,000 lb).

Mr Gray added that the boat had “sustained extensive damage”.