Five people rescued off a boat near Block Island after reports of a whale colliding into it
BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. (WLNE) – Five people were rescued off a boat near Block Island Sunday morning after reports of a whale colliding into it.
The U.S. Coast Guard confirms they received a call around 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning for a whale striking a boat. That boat, named “No Plans”, was left with a large hole near the near, and began taking on water.
Witnesses tell ABC 6 News there were several whales spotted in the area that morning. Fisherman David Denelle took images out on his boat just moments before the rescue.
“They were very big whales! I was a little bit nervous being in a 17-foot boat.” Denelle said. “There were probably 50 boats in the area where the whales and dolphins were because that’s where the tuna were biting earlier in the morning.”
He says he heard on his radio that a boat was taking on water after being hit by a whale.
“There was chatter on the radio from other fisherman just talking about the fact that the boat had been hit by the whale and they were just telling the story back and forth like fishermen do.”
Denelle says he rushed over to the scene where he was told one person fell overboard onto the whale. A nearby boat was able to step in and call for help.
“We heard previously that one of the other captains on the fishing boat had helped the guy plug up the hole and because the guy’s electronics had been knocked out by the whale hitting the boat, that he called the coast guard.”
USCG says they can’t confirm that a person fell overboard onto a whale at this time, but they can confirm they rescued five people and that there were no injuries.
The boat was located and towed in and Station Point Judith and Safe Sea Rescue were able to take all five passengers to shore.
Denelle says he’s seen some pretty incredible sights on the water, but this lands at the top of his list.
“It was crazy. I’ve had a lot of dolphin and whale experiences because I go search them out there, but yeah, that was crazy!”
Following the rescue, Air Station Cape Cod searched around for a whale, possibly injured, but weren’t able to find one.