JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Three men were injured on Monday when a whale leaped out of the water and landed on their inflatable boat off South Africa's south coast near the harbour city of Port Elizabeth, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Tuesday.
The weight of animal, believed to be a humpback whale, pushed the craft underwater but the boat popped back to the surface and one of the men was able to raise the alarm with a cell phone, the NSRI said in a statement.
Illuminating flares were then used to search for the men and their stricken boat on a moonless night.
"The boat was found about one nautical mile off-shore with all three men clinging onto the hull," said Ian Gray, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander.
One of the men was in a stable but serious condition, having sustained suspected rib fractures, an arm and a leg injury. The other two escaped with lesser injuries, the NSRI said.
Reporting by Sherilee Lakmidas; Editing by Ed Stoddard and Paul Casciato