Orcas recorded attacking whale

April 12, 2010 at 2:12 PM
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LA CONNER, Wash., April 12 (UPI) -- Whale watchers say they watched and recorded killer whales attacking a gray whale deep in Puget Sound north of Seattle.

The violent nature drama played out Sunday afternoon in Saratoga Passage between Camano and Whidbey islands, witnesses who were aboard the Mystic Sea told KING-TV, Seattle.

Wendy Hensel of Chilliwack, British Columbia, described the killer whales' attack as "breathtaking." "It was amazing how fast they were going," she said.

The TV station reported whale experts said while Orcas are known to hunt gray whale calves off the California coast, it is very rare to capture an attack on an adult gray whale so far inland, though other attacks have been reported in recent weeks.

The whale watchers said the Orcas were seen heading straight toward the gray whale, then they all submerged. A short time later, the gray whale surfaced, belly up.

"The whale got jerked back and forth you know, two or three times," Monte Hughes, the Mystic Sea's captain, said. "You could definitely tell the Orcas were attacking her, and evidently they had hit her as she was on her way up.

"She just laid there a little, then rolled around to about 10 degrees, trying to right herself ... but she was just floundering there in the water."

The wounded whale eventually righted itself and made its way toward shore.

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