Orcas, also known as killer whales, are among the most powerful marine predators. This fact did not deter three shrimp fishermen from rescuing a female orca trapped on rocks during low tide. According to ABC News, Jason Vonick, Nick Segal, and John Oakes were fishing in the Klakas Inlet on September 30, on Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska. The fishermen noticed a pod of orcas hunting seals, during which one of the females became stuck on some rocks near shore.
“This poor killer whale beached herself,” Vonick said on a video he recorded of the rescue. “We’ve been here for a couple hours, trying to keep her cool until the tide comes up and she can float off.”
The fishermen spent four hours with the animal, keeping it moistened and calm. Vonick later told Good Morning America that because the water was so low, there was little more they could do for the whale. Nearby, the orca pod kept a close watch on their own, along with the humans hovering over her.
“We felt a little nervous about it because we weren’t sure they knew we were trying to help,” Vonick said. “We were especially nervous the bigger male whale would make a move because he was within five feet of us, but they just stayed right there and just watched the whole time.”
The fishermen also described the female orca as calm throughout the entire ordeal. When the water level started rising, the three men used oars to leverage the animal back into the water, where it quickly recovered and rejoined the pod.
You can see part of the rescue in the video below: