A whale breached and landed on the bow of a small boat briefly submerging it in the water, in a stunning moment caught on video Sunday morning off the Massachusetts coast.
In footage of the encounter, the whale, which appears to be a humpback, can be seen emerging from the water before landing on the 19-foot vessel, bringing it crashing down into the water before bouncing upright again.
The incident unfolded around 10 a.m. in the area of White Horse Beach in Plymouth, town officials said.
“It was insane,” one witness, Ryder Parkhurst, told NBC Boston. “The guy was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, that’s all. Pops up, bang … right on the bow of the guy’s boat.”
“I just saw the boat go freaking flying, it was crazy,” Parkhurst said. “It was nuts. I couldn’t believe the thing was still floating.”
In a statement published Sunday, the town said a Plymouth Harbormaster Department boat assigned to the area responded to check on the vessel occupants.
“The operator reported no injuries and no major damage that affected the seaworthiness of the vessel,” it said. It was unclear whether the whale sustained any injuries in the incident.
The department’s crews had been monitoring the area since around 5 a.m. Sunday in a bid to ensure everyone’s safety after a boat was bumped by a whale Friday, NBC Boston reported.
Plymouth Harbormaster Chad Hunter said many boats had been out in the area for recreational fishing Sunday due to an abundance of bait fish, which he said was also attracting whales to the area.
The town said the Plymouth Harbormaster Department had forwarded information about the incident to the Massachusetts Environmental Police. The police department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.
The town said the department recommended boaters keep a distance of at least 100 yards from whales to “minimize potential interactions.”
“This interaction, while rare, is a reminder that these interactions can be dangerous for both boaters and whales,” it said.