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Blue whale capsizes boat: 2 people knocked overboard, video of whale encounter

A blue whale capsizes a boat with 2 people aboard, knocking them into the water off the California coast in a calamitous encounter. Video clips of the intense event were captured when the giant blue whale got a bit too close for comfort to a 23-foot inflatable boat. CBS News gives some background to this epic story that has become a viral sensation within a week this Thursday, July 3, 2014.

Blue whale big enough to capsize a rubber boat, 2 people on board
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This Wednesday, roughly 12 miles from the coast of San Diego, California, a massive blue whale managed to disrupt the seafaring adventures of 2 people sailing on an inflatable boat, knocking them overboard. The incredible video footage of the event was actually recorded by one of the brave sailors. Talk about someone that still had the gall to take out a camera to capture the breathtaking moment while on a vessel about to be capsized.

If one watches the incredible clip, viewers are able to see the whale surge out of the surface of the water, its massive mouth wide open to feed — not on the humans of course, though it may appear that way initially — and eventually manage to flip the inflatable vessel on its head. While the 23-foot boat is of impressive size as it is, the manmade creation is no match for this monster of the ocean.

Fortunately, the 2 sailors lost at sea following this blue whale capsizes boat encounter were ultimately unharmed. The Daily Mail notes this evening that members of the U.S. Coast Guard managed to rescue the pair of victims, while a commercial salvage ship soon set out to retrieve the inflatable boat itself.

Now how did this giant blue whale scare come about in the first place? No, it wasn’t a case of Moby Dick trying to get revenge — the vessel was apparently struck accidentally while the massive animal was trying to feed on krill at the water’s surface. According to the press release, the experienced sailors who were sightseeing on the capsized boat have been identified as longtime whale-watcher and Captain CiCi Sayer as well as Dale Frink, a photographer. Frink was the one quick-thinking enough to keep his camera on hand and relatively water-free in order to take a video of the classic confrontation. He soon took to Facebook to confirm that he and CiCi were all right, though they were a bit shaken up following the whole ordeal.

“I was out whale watching today in San Diego when the boat I was a passenger on was overturned by a lunge-feeding blue whale,” he shared in the social media post. “I was not driving and I was not in control of the Zodiac … Neither I nor the captain was hurt save for minor bruises.”

In his online statement, Frink noted that the captain was following proper practices in terms of careful whale-watching, but apparently didn’t realize how close the giant blue whale had come before it managed to capsize their boat. They had managed to keep the standard of 100 to 150 yards between them, but the rogue animal was said to abruptly work its way behind them in the hunt for krill. Now, he's just grateful that the incident ended without any lasting damage, and is grateful for all the help.

'But unfortunately the whales came up exactly behind us with no time to react,” Frink added along with the viral video. “Most of the people who think that the video ‘looks bad’ are justifiably concerned for the safety of the whales … I can agree with that, as someone who emphatically encourages safe boating around whales, I feel confident saying that the captain was doing everything within her ability to be safe and respectful for the animals. Accidents happen, however, and things would have been a lot worse if proper protocols and modern safety equipment not been in place. I am grateful to the captain of the nearby vessel who pulled us out of the water, and to the folks at Vessel Assist who brought me back in.”

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