Off the coast of Spain, several killer whales have attacked the sailing yacht "Champagne". The crew members had to wait on the ship for over an hour.
Munich/Gibraltar – A disturbing incident has occurred on the open sea just off the coast of Gibraltar: After mysterious whale attacks in the Mediterranean Sea off Spain's coast have been reported in the past, people have once again become victims of an orca attack. They were on their way to southern Spain with their sailing yacht when the animals suddenly attacked the sailors in the middle of the night from Thursday to Friday (5 May).
|Killer whale||Killer whale (Orcinus orca) of the dolphin family|
|Size||Up to 9.8 meters long|
|Distribution||Especially in the North Pacific, North Atlantic and the polar seas|
Orca attack in the Mediterranean: yacht sent a distress signal to the coast guard
"At first I thought we had rammed something," Werner Schaufelberger, who was on board as skipper, told yacht.de. "But then I quickly realized that it was orcas that were attacking the ship." Together with three other sailors, Schaufelberg was on a training trip of the Swiss sailing and motorboat school HOZ (Hochseezentrum International) from Tenerife via Malaga to Palma.
Around midnight, the crew members suddenly felt something big crashing into the yacht "Champagne". "We were running under Maschine and Groß in 7 to 8 knots of aft wind when suddenly there was a loud rumble," says Schaufelberger. He immediately switched off the engine and autopilot and sent a distress signal to the Spanish coast guard.
Yacht attacked by orcas in the Mediterranean: animal rammed ship "with full force"
In order not to provoke the animals further, the crew members tried to keep quiet despite the disturbing situation – "We wanted to be as boring as possible for them," segelreporter.com quotes the skipper. However, the whales were unimpressed by this and attacked the sailing yacht more and more violently. "The attacks were brutal. There were two smaller and one larger orca. The two little ones shook the rudder at the back, while the big one kept starting up and then rammed the ship from the side with full force."
For more than an hour, the orcas attacked the yacht on the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain. (Symbolic image) © Nature Picture Library/imago
The crew had waited on the ship for about an hour and a half, hoping that the orcas would soon give up, when they discovered two holes on the side of the rudder through which water entered. At this point at the latest, it was clear that the sailors urgently needed help from the coast guard. Tarifa Coastguard sent a helicopter and a sea rescue cruiser, which was on site about twenty minutes later, according to yacht.de.
Orca attack in the Mediterranean: Rescue for yacht "Champagne" came too late
The four sailors were evacuated and the "Champagne" was taken in tow – but even before reaching the port in Barbate, west of Gibraltar, it was clear that any help came too late for the ship. Too much water had already run in, so that the yacht finally sank just before the harbor until only the mast could be seen.
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Fancy a voyage of discovery?
The animals, which are often referred to as killer whales or killer whales, can not only be a danger to humans - other marine predators must also be wary of the meter-long orcas. Researchers are filming, for example, how orcas eat gigantic blue whales alive. Despite their brutality, humans and orcas are not at all dissimilar, claims author Thomas Käsbohrer in an interview with Merkur.de. (tt)