A California man sailing off of the western coast of Mexico had a too-close encounter with a whale over the weekend.
KTVU reports that a whale hit the man’s 50-foot boat, destroying the steering and putting a hole in the vessel, about 40 miles off of the coast of Mexico.
His wife, Deborah Young, said that Young was able to keep the vessel afloat by stuffing a mattress into the hole, turning on all of the bilge pumps, and was bailing “out water as fast as he could, because he didn’t know how long it would take to be rescued.”
Lt. Charles Kelly, of the Coast Guard’s command center in Alameda, California said that Young also turned on an emergency beacon which made it extremely easy for the coast guard to locate him. Kelly said:
“His EPIRB delivered an exact position to us, contact information that allowed us to quickly discern the sail plan of and number of persons on the vessel, and really took a lot of the search out of the search and rescue.”
The coast guard was able to signal a nearby ship to tell them about the distressed vessel.
The Associated Press reports that Young was rescued by a freighter at about 4 a.m.
This isn’t the first time that a whale has been responsible for nearly sinking a boat. In 2010, a 40-ton whale jumped up out of the water and landed on their yacht.