SYDNEY: A 71-year-old South African man was knocked unconscious and three others suffered serious injuries after a whale slammed into a charter fishing boat off Australia’s north coast, the skipper said Monday. The 30-foot (9-meter) vessel was returning to port in the Whitsundays off the Queensland state coast with eight passengers on board when a humpback whale rammed it from below, sending it airborne. “Within a split second we all hit the floor, the boat launched up into the air and it dislodged everyone off their feet,” captain Oliver Galea told Agence France-Presse. A helicopter escorted the boat to shore where four men were sent to hospital. The South African was treated for a broken nose, while Galea needed eight stitches for a nasty head wound. A third passenger suffered facial fractures and another broken ribs.