One of the men a marlin has speared when it got into their boat off Wooli on Thursday, receiving treatment before he was flown to Coffs Harbour hospital.
One of the men a marlin has speared when it got into their boat off Wooli on Thursday, receiving treatment before he was flown to Coffs Harbour hospital. Tim Howard

Two men speared by fish in bizarre boating incident

TWO Sydney men were speared by a marlin when it breached the water and entered their boat off the coast of Wooli on the NSW North Coast.

The brothers, aged 46 and 48 believed to be from Narrabeen, and a third man, aged 46, were in a five-metre rigid hull inflatable boat when the large fish breached the water between Solitary Island and Wooli around midday.

The fish, which they estimated weighed between 80 and 100 kilograms, crashed into the brothers on board the vessel, which had been travelling at 21 knots or 40km/h.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service released a report which said it had taken a 46-year-old male to Coffs Harbour Hospital with multiple injuries and possible fractures.

NSW Police confirmed the marlin's sharp snout sliced open the younger brother's lower right arm, causing an open fracture.

The older brother was taken by road ambulance to the same hospital with a deep cut to his right shoulder.

One of the men injured when a marlin got into their boat, with the bandaged arm, watches as his more seriously injured mate is loaded into the Westpac Rescue Helicopter for the flight to Coffs Harbour Hospital.
One of the men injured when a marlin got into their boat, with the bandaged arm, watches as his more seriously injured mate is loaded into the Westpac Rescue Helicopter for the flight to Coffs Harbour Hospital. Tim Howard

Wooli resident Nikki Voss spoke to the third man in the boat as well as first responders and police who helped the men when they came ashore at Wooli after 1pm.

She said one man had been speared through the arm causing some serious damage and the other had been speared in the shoulder.

"One of the SES guys said it had ripped the guy's arm open to the bone and you could see ripped tendons," Ms Voss said.

Ms Voss said the men's boat hit the marlin and catapulted it into the boat where it thrashed around, spearing two of the three men.

"It was like hitting a cow," Ms Voss said the uninjured man told police.

"It was as long as the width of the boat we were in, he said to the police."

The marlin survived the freak accident when it managed to thrash its way back into the water.

Ms Voss said the uninjured man piloted the boat back to shore and radioed Marine Rescue to arrange for emergency service assistance.

It is believed the men came from the Sydney suburb of Narrabeen. He drove to Coffs Harbour Hospital to be with the most seriously injured of his friends.

Grafton Police duty officer Chief Inspector Jo Reid said police had attended the incident, but no follow up action would be taken.

"We've been told the man's injuries are not life threatening," she said. "It's now a matter for the ambulance and health authorities."

The story has been update at 8.50am to say both injured men were taken to Coffs Harbour Hospital.



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The incident is happening 20km off shore