Swedish Josefina Sonnerup and her colleague Benjamin have spent their holidays on board the sailboat «Amadeus».
What was supposed to be a holiday trip from France to Portugal’s capital Lisbon took a dramatic turn on Monday night this week.
– I was asleep when I woke up to a bang. It felt like the sailboat ran into a cliff, I also heard a scream, Sonnerup tells Dagbladet.
She quickly ran up to the deck where her colleague Benjamin was terrified.
– He desperately tried to steer the boat while several killer whales slammed into it, she explains.
– Bite off the rudder
Killer whales are several meters long and can weigh up to six tons.
To Expressen, who first mentioned the case, Sonnerup says that they were a two-hour sailing trip away from land when they were surrounded.
Colleagues desperately tried to figure out how to get rid of the killer whales. They decided to put on the engine in hopes of getting ashore.
– Then the killer whales were just more triggered, and bit off the whole rudder so that we just drove around in a circle, she tells Dagbladet.
The 30-year-old is unsure how many killer whales smashed into the boat, but she believes she has seen up to four pieces.
– Very scared
– I was very scared, and we sat in the middle of the sailboat. If I had waved an arm, it would probably have been close to the killer whales, so it was a matter of sitting still, she explains.
Since the sailboat just went around and around, the colleagues had to send out a Mayday signal over the radio.
– We were panicking, and were afraid that we would take in water. We could not stay in case the whole boat sank, Sonnerup explains.
About 30 minutes later, they received help from a Spanish lifeboat, which drove them ashore.
– When we arrived on land, they received a new mayday signal. This time it was a Spanish sailboat that had met the killer whales, the 30-year-old says.
The Spaniards had heard Sonnerup’s emergency call, and were on their way to help the Swede and her colleague when they were attacked by the killer whales.
The two Spaniards filmed the attack. In the video, which you can see at the top of this case, you can see how killer whales surround the sailboat.
According to the 30-year-old, the Spaniards were surrounded for about an hour before they were rescued, and all those involved have been doing well.
All four are now in the city of Coruna, northwestern Spain, and the 30-year-old says it will take several weeks to repair the sailboat.
– Thought the worst
She is happy that things went well with them, and believes there was a danger that lives could have been lost.
– There and then I thought the worst. I thought that the boat would sink, and wondered if this was where my life would end, Sonnerup says.
“Shark Summer” Trends »
Dagbladet has previously mentioned how killer whales has created “Shark Summer” trends outside Spain in recent months.
Crews on vessels outside Spain have reported a number of killer whale attacks, and at least one person has sustained bodily injuries as a result of the attacks.
The Spanish Maritime Directorate has also warned vessels to keep their distance if they observe the animals.
Researchers are unsure what the killer whales’ behavior is due to, but believe it is likely that it is the same herd that has been responsible for all the attacks.
What is the cause of the attacks is so far a mystery, but it is speculated whether the behavior may be caused by stress, as the population in the area is threatened.