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.


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