A 27-year-old woman was seriously injured after she was hit by a leaping dolphin near Slipper Island in the western reaches of the Bay of Plenty this afternoon.
A spokesman for the Auckland rescue helicopter said the woman was sitting in the bow of a small pleasure craft around 2.30pm today when it appeared a dolphin miscalculated its leap out of the water.
"It jumped up out of the water and hit the woman, giving her a number of injuries," the spokesman said.
No further information on the woman's injuries was available, but she is Auckland Hospital's intensive care unit in a serious condition.
The dolphin swam off unharmed.
The spokesman said the call-out was a first for the Auckland rescue helicopter.
"I've never heard of a dolphin hitting someone on a boat. You can't even catch them on lures when you go gamefishing. They're too smart."
It appeared the dolphin leapt from quite a distance and just didn't see the boat, he said.