A group of whalers got more than they bargained for when they harpooned an Orca off the island coast of Lembata, Indonesia. The twelve men had spotted the killer whale from the island that morning and followed it out to deeper waters before spearing the animal with their harpoons. The tide of the battle, however, quickly turned in the whale’s favor.
The injured orca was not willing to give in without a fight and managed to drag the entire fishing boat underwater and free itself, scattering the twelve whalers across the ocean in the process.
Four of the men were able to swim back to Lembata by evening and report the accident. Local fishermen and police searched the waters surrounding the island for hours, but no traces of the missing eight men were found and they were feared dead.
Incredibly, all eight men were found on a neighboring island the following afternoon. Despite the numerous injuries they had sustained from the long chase and the violent shipwreck, the whalers had managed to stay afloat for sixteen hours and eventually drifted to shore.
Lembata is one of only two Indonesian islands where locals still use traditional fishing techniques. While the native people have long hunted sperm whale in the waters near the island, the rapid decrease in this endangered animal has led locals to go after the much more aggressive and dangerous orca: a shift that has caused harm to both the killer whales and their human hunters.
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