A 27-foot-long boat was totaled last Wednesday, nearly killing a man, when a whale breached in the normally safe waters off Leadbetter Point in Santa Barbara. Believed to be an immature grey whale, the approximately 30-foot-long behemoth was swimming in water 35 feet deep when it uncharacteristically leapt from the sea and came down in a crash of broken glass and flying blubber on local resident Gerald Gromley’s Bayliner. Gromely’s friend Robert Thornburgh was on the vessel’s stern at the time of impact and was violently swatted by the whale’s tale as it rolled back into the water. The whale’s inexplicable attack left Thornburgh with five broken ribs, a severely lacerated hand, and hunks of barnacles in his back. The whale fled the scene, and it is unknown whether he/she was injured in the fracas.
Originally published 8:31 a.m., February 9, 2006
Updated 11:35 a.m., February 20, 2006
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