Australian Olympian Taylor McKeown is under investigation by Australian authorities for riding a jet ski too close to a pod of whales off of Point Cartwright near Mooloolaba Beach off the Sunshine Coast recently.
As reported by The Sunshine Coast Daily, the silver medalist and two friends were photographed by a bystander, who wishes to remain anonymous, who then sent the photos to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
Per Australian law, jet skis are not permitted to be within 300 meters of whales. Penalties for violating this distance include fines up to $15,000.
McKeown denies allegations, stating “Anyone who knows me knows my passion for wildlife. Having professionals look at it is the best thing that can happen. We were literally floating in the water. They got closer and we sat there motionless. If whales approach that’s their decision.” (Sunshine Coast)
The photographer maintains, “We witnessed repeated interactions with whales and calves by a jet ski as I photographed the incident.”
McKeown’s Twitter profile reads, “2016 Olympian, animal lover and advocate.” Her Instagram account dated October 7th includes the following video, depicting the Olympian and her friends drifting with the motor off watching the whales approach.