When killer whales attack: British couple film terrifying moment a pod of Orcas attack their 45ft yacht and take a bite out of the rudder off the Spanish coast
- Graeme Walker, his wife Moira and friend Stephen Robinson were sailing when they were attacked
- A group of three killer whales targeted their 45ft yacht near Cape Finisterre
- In the 45-minute attack a 1.5sq ft bite had been taken out of the yacht’s rudder
A British couple yachting in Spain recorded the moment a group of killer whales attacked their boat.
Graeme Walker and his wife Moira were sailing on their yacht with their friend Stephen Robinson when a trio of killer whales targeted them off the coast of Cape Finisterre.
BBC Scotland reports that Graeme, from Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, only noticed the killer whales when one of them rammed his 45ft yacht.
During the 45-minute attack a 1.5sq ft bite had been taken out of the yacht’s rudder.
Graeme said: ‘I was not really sure what was happening, then one of the animals broke the surface, on the left hand side of the boat, for breath.’
The retired chief financial officer contacted the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre who told him to turn the engine off and keep the sail down.
Despite the precautionary measures, Graeme said that the killer whales caused the boat to spin 90 degrees.
Graeme’s biggest fear was that his yacht would take water on board from the damage caused by the animals and they would have been left stranded 720 miles into a 1,600 mile journey.
It will now take weeks for Graeme to have his yacht repaired.
This is the latest in a number of cases of killer whales attacking vessels off of the Spanish coast and as a result the Spanish transport ministry has banned boats of 15m or less from sailing between Cape Prioriño Grande and Estaca de Bares point in Galicia for a week.
Earlier this month, The Guardian reported that scientists had been left baffled by the spate of killer whale attacks.
In one recent incident, Halcyon Yachts were taking a 36ft vessel to the UK from A Coruña in northern Spain when a killer whale rammed it at least 15 times.
The vessel lost steering and had to be towed back to port because of the attack.
Around the same time a radio warning was issued after killer whales were spotted near Vigo where two other recent collisions had taken place.
Alfredo López, a biologist from the Coordinator for the Study of Marine Mammals in Galicia, told the paper that killer whales make their way up the Spanish-Portuguese coastline every year in September.
It is currently not known whether the same pod of killer whales is carrying out all of these attacks but Dr Ruth Esteban, a Gibraltar orca expert, told the paper that it is unlikely that different groups would carry out such similarly organised attacks.
The killer whale, or orca, is the largest member of the dolphin family with a complex diet that sees different groups of the animal eating different prey.
Generally killer whales are not considered to be a threat to humans.