Swimmer hurt by humpback during whale watching tour

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A woman has been injured by a humpback whale while swimming on the Ningaloo Reef, off the coast of Exmouth in Western Australia.

Royal Perth Hospital reported she was in a serious but stable condition after the encounter on the weekend.

Police advised that officers and local marine rescue crew were alerted, but once the woman was back on the vessel the call was cancelled.

A St John Ambulance spokesperson said the woman, in her late 20s, was swimming while on a humpback whale tour.

She sustained chest injuries after being hit by a whale’s tail.

The ABC understands local tour operators transported her from the vessel to Exmouth Hospital.

Humpback whale on the Ningaloo Coast
A humpback whale breaches along the Ningaloo Coast of Western Australia.(Supplied: Dani Rob/WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions)

The woman was transported by ambulance from the hospital to the Learmonth airport for an Royal Flying Doctor Service flight to Perth.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions said people were required to remain at least 100 metres away from whales at all times where possible.

WA Parks and Wildlife Service Exmouth whale conservation officer Dani Rob warned the public in 2017 that it was only a matter of time before a swimmer was hurt.

The ABC has contacted the tour operator, Ningaloo Whaleshark, Swim for a response.

WorkSafe is waiting on an incident report before it launches an investigation.

A humpback whale underwater
Up close and personal with a humpback whale in Ningaloo Marine Park.(Supplied: Eco Ocean Adventures)

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