Man killed by leaping mackerel

Giovanni Torre
·2-min read
Mackerel have been known to attack humans when they perceive them as a threat - Getty Images
Mackerel have been known to attack humans when they perceive them as a threat - Getty Images

An Australian man has been killed by a mackerel after the fish leapt from the sea into a fishing boat and struck him on the chest.

The 56-year-old man was fishing with family and friends in Darwin Harbour, in the Northern Territory, on Friday when the incident occurred.

Northern Territory Police said the fish “launched itself into the boat” and hit the man, who was rushed to nearby Cullen Bay jetty. Paramedics attempted to revive him but were unable to save his life.

Police described it as a “freak incident” and “hugely distressing for the people in the boat and other family and friends of the man”.

“Police ask that their privacy be respected and as such will not be providing further comment,” they said in a statement.

A local fisherman, James Crane, told the ABC he had heard the mackerel was 18kg (40lb), and “speared right into this guy and caused major blunt trauma”.

Mr Crane, who said he saw the man’s body covered with a white sheet on the jetty, said “to lose someone over a freak accident like that, it was crazy”.

"It sounded pretty horrible to have happened, but it does happen,” he said.

Mackerel are generally only known to attack humans when they perceive them as a threat.

Two years ago a woman on a boat around 30 miles from Darwin received a serious neck wound when a one-metre (3.3ft), 10kg (22lb) mackerel leapt from the water and struck her.

The woman was rushed to hospital and survived, despite significant blood loss.

Elsewhere in Australia, a 35-year-old woman surfing off New South Wales’s mid-north coast suffered “severe lacerations” after a two-to-three metre shark attacked her on Saturday.

The woman’s husband jumped off his surfboard and on to the shark, punching it, which caused the juvenile Great White to let go of her leg.

Surf Life Saving NSW chief executive Steven Pearce told the Sydney Morning Herald: “This fella paddled over and jumped off his board onto the shark and hit it to get it to release her and then assisted her back into the beach… Pretty full on, really heroic.”

Bystanders and paramedics treated the woman at the scene before she was taken to Port Macquarie Hospital, then flown to Newcastle Hospital to undergo surgery.

Late on Saturday she was in a stable condition.

New South Wales Ambulance duty operations manager Andrew Beverley praised the bystanders who performed first aid on the woman, it was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.