WATCH: Killer Whales Sink a Boat Full of Fishermen After Launching ‘Organized Attack’

by Craig Garrett
Orcas, underwater photography, Norway - stock photo

Last week, a group of fishermen had a brush with death when they were attacked by killer whales off the coast of Portugal. When the French boat was sailing north of Porto, it was surrounded by a pod of orcas. They attacked the boat, causing it to fill with water and sink into the ocean. The terrifying viral video was shared on Youtube.

“They came to bite into it several times, until the hull, at the level of the rudder, gave way. [It] caused a leak in the boat, and then it’s sinking,” the skipper recalled. The crew was lucky to escape on a life raft. They are grateful that they made it out alive, Newsweek reports.

On November 1st, the Lisbon Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center received an SOS alert at 12:05 pm. The alert was from a French sailboat with four passengers. They were 14 miles off the coast of Viana Do Castelo in Portugal. The fisherman aboard had realized that their boat was sinking as a result of being attacked by killer whales. This is the latest in a series of such attacks against both Spanish and Portuguese coasts.

The whales attacked the French boat for 45 minutes, damaging the rudder severely. The fisherman on board started to panic as water filled up the boat rapidly. Video footage shows water coming up to their waists as the boat quickly filled with water.

The ship’s captain details the killer whale attack

Skipper Elliot Boyard recounted the events of the video. “I was at the helm and there was a very big impact against the ship because of five to seven orcas who persisted in attacking the rudder of the boat,” Boyard explained. “They came to bite into it several times, until the hull, at the level of the rudder, gave way, and caused a leak in the boat, and then it’s sinking.”

Fortunately, the crew was able to get away on a life raft and soon abandoned the ship. The orcas had luckily vanished by then. “There was a little panic that came when we realized we were going to sink,” Boyard recalled. “At that time, we got into the water in the life raft, with the orcas around. But by the time we left the boat, they were no longer there.”

The attacks don’t seem to have a clear motive behind them, according to experts. David Lusseau, professor of marine sustainability at the Technical University of Denmark tried to make sense of the attack. “Local scientists who have worked with killer whales in this region for more than two decades have had closer looks at incidents, and so far I think it is fair to say that we do not know why these accidents and attacks are happening,” Lusseau told Newsweek.

“The individual whales seem to engage in the same pattern of attack, focusing on the rudder which can lead to the vessels being immobilized and needing rescue or to tragic situations like the most recent accident where the vessel sunk.”