BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. (CBS) – The Coast Guard rescued five people after their boat was apparently hit by a whale off of Block Island. The group was fishing about 10 miles off of the Rhode Island coast on Sunday.
A huge hole now sits on the side of the boat called “No Plans.”
“It’s not unheard of I’ve just never heard of it in 23 years,” said Boat Towing Company co-owner Phil LeBlanc, who helped with the rescue. “The whale breached up out of the water and essentially head-butted the side of the boat.”
The fisherman say they saw a whale get close to their boat, then a few minutes later there was a loud boom and sudden impact so strong that one of the men fell overboard. The fisherman said he landed on top of the whale.
The other men got him back on the boat, and that’s when they realized they were taking on water.
When avid photographer and fisherman Dale Denelle heard there was a feeding frenzy near Block Island, he and his girlfriend jumped on his boat.
“There were definitely three fin whales,” he said. Then, he heard a call over the radio from the Coast Guard about a vessel taking on water so he rushed over.
“The occupants all had life jackets on when we arrived and there was a towboat,” Denelle said. “It looked like a pretty deep hole like it was crunched you could see into the boat.”
“The whale ran into the boat there’s no doubt about it,” LeBlanc said.
The Coast Guard brought everyone back to shore without injuries.
The boat was towed toward Point Judith for repairs.