Whale Hunters Found After Orca Drags Boat Underwater 16-Hour Swim Away From Land

Some whale hunters were found alive after a very close call with an aggressive orca — a species sometimes nicknamed the killer whale. Lamalera, their community on the southern tip of Lembata island in Indonesia, was already in mourning for eight men presumed lost after the orca dragged their boat underwater.

According to IndoSurfLife, the drama began on Thursday. The 12 whale hunters on the traditional vessel chased and harpooned the orca. The so-called killer whale reacted by diving and taking the boat with it.

Eight of the men were flung into the water.

The whale hunters know that orcas can be aggressive and usually prefer to go after sperm whale instead. Other whale hunters told the Jakarta Globe that they’d seen the orca but decided not to go after it. The two traditional whaling villages in the region usually take about a dozen sperm whale each year.

However, perhaps because sperm whales are getting tougher to find, this boat did attempt to catch the killer whale — with a potentially tragic result.

The search for the eight men expanded on Friday, with help from local fishing boats, local disaster rescue services, and a nearby naval base. The people of Lamalera began to fear the worst. And the community was described as being in a state of mourning over the weekend.

But a Sunday update brought better news. The Jakarta Globe reported that the eight lost whale hunters had been found alive at two different distant locations. The men had been swimming for over 16 hours before they reached dry land.

Amazing as it may seem, only two of the eight lost whale hunters were badly injured enough to need treatment at a hospital.

whale hunters have been found
the mouth of a hungry orca

[orca mouth photo credit: Mongrelboy via photopin cc]
[underwater orca photo credit: auntie rain via photopin cc]