Giant whale sinks 44-foot sailboat in the Pacific Ocean

Whale surfacing.
Whale surfacing. Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

The crew of a 44-foot sailboat was put in a scary situation earlier this month when a giant whale surfaced and sank the boat while it was in the Pacific Ocean with three people onboard.

The Washington Post spoke with those who were on the boat, named Raindancer, when it sank. They shared that the incident left them in the middle of the ocean on a lifeboat and dinghy for 10 hours before they were saved.

The three sailors were attempting to make a 3,500-mile trip from the Galápagos Islands to French Polynesia when they encountered the whale.

On March 13, just 13 days into their three-week voyage, the whale impacted the ship, smashing it while one sailor, Rick Rodriguez, was eating his vegetarian pizza.

“The second pizza had just come out of the oven, and I was dipping a slice into some ranch dressing,” Rodriguez told the Post. “The back half of the boat lifted violently upward and to starboard.”

Speaking with the Today Show, Rodriguez said that right after hearing the noise and feeling the impact they looked to the side and saw the whale surfacing.

The impact with the ship caused the crew members on board to be thrown around, and shortly after, Rodriguez said that an alarm began to sound as water rushed in.

“There was just an incredible amount of water coming in,” Rodriguez told Today.

Taking action quickly, Rodriguez said they began issuing distress signals via the emergency position indicating radio beacon, which is connected to a worldwide rescue network.

The signal was picked up by the Peruvian coast guard, which was able to contact the U.S. Coast Guard and inform them of the emergency, the Post reported.

Members on the ship began to gather food and emergency equipment while others launched a lifeboat and a dinghy, prepared to survive with the week's worth of supplies, the Post reported.

Among the supplies brought onto the lifeboat were a phone, a satellite wifi hotspot, and an external battery with minimal charge.

Using the devices, Rodriguez told the Post he first reached out to his friend who was taking the same route he was but was about 180 miles behind him.

Thankfully, the group didn’t need to wait as long as Tom Hanks may have, as hours after their ship went down, a boat named the Rolling Stones found them and brought them onboard.

On Wednesday, the sailors finally made it back to shore, landing in French Polynesia. While Rodriguez told the Post he misses his boat, he is grateful for those who helped rescue him and his shipmates.

“I feel very lucky, and grateful, that we were rescued so quickly,” Rodriguez said. “We were in the right place at the right time to go down.”

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images