Hair-Raising Footage Shows Orca Chasing Down Tourist Boat

Hair-raising footage showing an orca chasing down and leaping towards a tourist boat off the coast of Mexico has been shared online.

Two videos of the encounter have been posted to Twitter. The first, from the boat being chased, was shared by Beatriz Acevedo Tachna and can be seen here. The orca can be seen leaping from the water behind the boat as it moves away at full speed.

The second video, here, taken from another nearby tourist boats, shows just how close the orca came to the tourists. Arely Hernandez, who shared the video on Twitter, said fishermen had told her this behavior is unusual.

In the boat, tourists can be heard yelling with delight at the close encounter.

According to the local news outlet Proceso, the tourists had been sailing around the Farallon Island, off the coast of Sinaloa, when the dolphin decided to tag along.

The Gulf of California has become a popular migration point for a particular population of orcas, Proceso reported. The dolphins migrate here in search of warmer climates in which to breed. They then return to the cold waters of the North Pacific.

The killer whale following the boat may have been playing a game

Orcas, also known as killer whales, are highly intelligent and social animals. The largest member of the dolphin family, they often display playful behavior. It is normal for killer whales to become curious when they encounter a boat, especially one moving at a fast speed.

The dolphins have been known to begin following boats as a game. Some have even held the rudder of boats with their mouth, allowing themselves to be pulled behind it.

However, orcas can become more aggressive. Killer whales are top predators and earn their name from their lethal hunting techniques, but they usually stay clear of humans.

In 2020, reports emerged that a pod of killer whales were attacking sailing boats off the coast of Spain. Sailors reported the dolphins ramming their boats and yachts with their heads, sometimes causing extensive damage.

Smaller boats, such as the one shown in the video posted by Hernandez, were at particular risk.

Scientists studying this bizarre behavior later noticed two of the orcas were injured. Researchers suspected that they were attacking the boats as a precaution, in order to protect the injured.

Orcas are found in oceans across the globe. They tend to feed on fish, squid, seals and sea birds. They are also known to hunt dolphins far bigger than themselves. One group of orcas was recently spotted feasting on a blue whale—the first time such behavior has been recorded.

Attacks on humans are extremely rare. There are no records of orcas ever killing a human in the wild.

Killer whale
A stock photo shows a killer whale leaping out of the water. They have been known to do this as a game. hanhanpeggy/Getty Images