HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Law enforcement officials and the Coast Guard are investigating following three separate incidents involving vessels and whales in Hawaiian waters over a 24-hour time span.
Two encounters happened off Maui. In the first incident, a boat struck a calf about half a mile off the Lahaina coast Tuesday evening. Crewmembers reported seeing blood in the water and alerted NOAA officials.
The second Maui incident occurred at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday about a mile off Maalaea Harbor . A boat struck a humpack whale, leaving it with three visible slashes, NOAA says. This crew also reported the incident. NOAA has not revealed if they were private boats or tour boats.
Another close encounter with a humpack whale occurred off the Kona coast of the Big Island Tuesday evening. Witnesses reported seeing a whale's tail emerge from the water, flipping over a 20-foot canoe. A nearby tour boat rescued the 60-year-old paddler who suffered only minor scratches. The canoe was split in half.
NOAA officials remind everyone to slow down while boating during this time of year, which is when thousands of humpback whales come to Hawaiian waters.
If you see a marine mammal in distress, you are asked to call this hotline: 1-888-256-9840
Related story: VIDEO: Humpback whales brush against tour boat off Kona