A first of its kind video has recorded an incident where a 50,000-pound whale saved a marine biologist from a 15-foot tiger shark.
Nan Hauser, 63, was on one of her expeditions with the team, when a shark came too close. Within seconds, the massive sea mammal pushed her to safety using its head and mouth to the other side, gently lifting the scientist out of the water entirely. Hauser told the Mirror:
“I’ve spent 28 years underwater with whales, and have never had a whale so tactile and so insistent on putting me on his head, or belly, or back, or, most of all, trying to tuck me under his huge pectoral fin.
“I tried to get away from him for fear that if he rammed me too hard, or hit me with his flippers or tail, that would break my bones and rupture my organs. If he held me under his pectoral fin, I would have drowned.”
Hauser believes the incident shows the mammal’s natural instinct to protect other species in danger:
“There is a published scientific paper about humpbacks protecting other species of animals, by Robert Pitman. For instance, they hide seals under their pectoral fins to protect them from killer whales. They truly display altruism – sometimes at the risk of losing their own lives.”
Hauser, who did not spot any whales before she took a dive, says she was scared and tried not to panic or else the sea creatures could have picked up her fear.
“I feel a very close kinship with animals, so despite my trepidation, I tried to stay calm and figure out how to get away from him. I never took my eyes off him.”
The random act of kindness continued even after Hauser was safe; the whale came back to check on her to make sure she was safe on the boat.