Megalophobia activated: Giant whale sinks 44 ft boat in Pacific Ocean
A group of friends had a narrow escape when their 44 ft sailboat was turned upside down by a giant whale in the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. Rick Rodriguez, a resident of Florida in the US and three friends embarked on a three-week sailing trip from the Galápagos Islands to French Polynesia when the incident transpired.
On March 13, only 13 days since Rodriguez & Co. started the voyage, the disaster struck. Half past one-thirty in the afternoon, the friends were preparing to enjoy a pizza for lunch when they heard a loud noise. Before the crew could react, the boat was flipped to its side. The whale had collided.
“The second pizza had just come out of the oven, and I was dipping a slice into some ranch dressing. The back half of the boat lifted violently upward and to starboard," Rodriguez said to the Washington Post during an interview.
Five seconds after the collision, the alarm bell went ringing, warning that the boat was filling with water. The crew, which had decent boating experience quickly sprung into action and gathered food, fresh water, emergency equipment and other gear. They had food and water to last them at least three weeks if it came to the worst-case scenario.
Afterwards, they launched a lifeboat alongside a dinghy and jumped into the water. Prior to taking asylum in the lifeboat, Rodriguez placed a mayday call on a VHF radio. According to Rodriguez, the boat sank completely within 15 minutes.
The crew spent 10 hours floating adrift before a civilian ship pulled them out of the ocean waters and onto the deck. Reflecting on the accident, Rodriguez said the entire group remained calm throughout the ordeal.
“There was never really much fear that we were in danger,” Rodriguez said. “Everything was in control as much as it could be for a boat sinking.”
Since a worldwide database was launched in 2007, there have been 1,200 confirmed reports of whales and boats colliding.