March 13, 2007 / 1:18 PM / 11 years ago

Whale kills would-be rescuer in Japan

<p>The tail of a sperm whale is seen in the Mauritius sea in this undated file photo. A Japanese fisherman drowned on Tuesday after a whale he was trying to rescue capsized his small fishing boat, a coastguard official said. REUTERS/Chris Johnson/Courtesy of Ocean Alliance</p>

TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese fisherman drowned on Tuesday after a whale he was trying to rescue capsized his small fishing boat, a coastguard official said.

Three fishermen tried to rescue the sperm whale, about 10-meter (yard) long, after it strayed into a bay off the southwestern island of Shikoku, about 800 km (500 miles) southwest of Tokyo.

But the panicked creature turned on them and struck the vessel, the coastguard official said.

A 58-year-old fisherman drowned while two other fishermen were rescued, he added.

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