Beware of flying dolphin

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DEC. 29 — A New Zealand woman who was injured this week when a dolphin leapt from the water and collided with her suffered two heart attacks before arriving at a hospital.

The 27-year-old woman was sitting on the bow of a moving 18-foot runabout near SlipperIsland, off northeast New Zealand, when a bottlenose dolphin jumped from the water and hit her in the chest, the New Zealand Press Association reported. The male driver of the boat said the dolphin left the water about 15 feet from the boat. The dolphin reportedly rolled off the boat and swam away.

The woman apparently suffered a heart attack not long after paramedics arrived, but she was revived, the report says. Her heart stopped again while being transported by helicopter to an area hospital.

“I’ve never heard of a dolphin hitting someone on a boat,” a spokesperson for Auckland (New Zealand) Rescue Helicopters says in a news report. “You can’t even catch them on lures when you go game fishing. They’re too smart.”

The woman was taken to a hospital where she was listed in serious condition, the report says. Information about her injuries was not available.

A second woman on the boat was thrown through a windshield and canopy when the dolphin landed on the boat, the NZPA report says. A male passenger fell overboard. No one else was injured during the incident.

Jason Fell