Calgary woman killed by surfacing whale off coast of Mexico
Published Thursday, March 12, 2015 8:59AM MDT Last Updated Thursday, March 12, 2015 6:28PM MDT
A 35-year-old Calgary woman was killed on Wednesday when a humpback whale surfaced and crashed into the tour boat she was on near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Mexican authorities say the woman was on board a boat, run by 'Cabo Adventures', with a number of other tourists at around noon when she was thrown into the water after the whale crashed into the boat.
The Attorney General's Office for Environmental Protection said two other tourists also suffered "considerable" injuries in the incident.
The office said the boat was carrying nine tourists on a snorkel tour and was returning to port when the incident happened.
Rescuers brought the woman to shore and she was taken to a clinic where she later died.
Authorities have not officially released her name but friends have identified her as Jen Karren.
"She had an open and pure heart and was just a kind individual," said a family friend.
John Babcock, with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development, says their office is aware of the fatality.
"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of a Canadian citizen who passed away in Mexico. Canadian consular officials in Cabo San Lucas are providing consular assistance to the family in this difficult time."
Jen Karren worked for WorleyParsons in Calgary and the company released a statement on Thursday afternoon saying…
WorleyParsons wishes to express its condolences to the family and friends of Jen Karren. Jen died in a tragic accident while holidaying in Mexico.
Jen worked for WorleyParsons for six years and was a member of our Office Services team in Calgary, which includes mail services and facilities management. Her colleagues remember her as a positive, friendly teammate who was willing to help out whenever she could. She always spoke kindly of everyone with whom she came in contact. Jen will hold a special place in the hearts of many, including her teammates of the WorleyParsons Freedom Riders, with whom she participated in the Ride to Conquer Cancer for the last two years.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Jen’s family and friends, and all those affected by this tragedy. We are providing support to all members of the WorleyParsons family who are deeply affected by Jen’s sudden death.
The Los Cabos Tourism Board released a statement on Thursday saying that it was notified of the incident and that the boat was returning from an excursion in Santa Maria Bay.
"Our sincere condolences go out to the victim’s family and friends, and we wish a quick recovery to the injured tourists," said the Los Cabos Tourism Board in the statement.
Collisions between whales and boats are not totally unknown in Mexico, where whales come to breed in coastal lagoons in winter.
Authorities generally require boats to stay a safe distance away from whales in whale-watching areas and protected reserves, but those rules don't apply in the area around Cabo San Lucas.
In January 2014, a boat and a humpback whale collided off the coast of Baja California, injuring a U.S. tourist and three other people on board.
(With files from the Associate Press)