Killer whales ram into boat for half an hour in day of attacks injuring sailor

A pair of killer whales violently charged at a British sailor's boat during a terrifying 30-minute rampage.

Dieter Peschkes was captaining a yacht from the UK to Gibraltar when he and two crewmen thought they had smashed into an underwater rock

After taking the sudden hit, the steering wheel span rapidly out of control and threw the vessel off course.

It was not until the 47-year-old skipper looked overboard that he spotted the real cause of the powerful thud was two 7ft long killer whales whacking themselves into the rudders at the back.

The crew had sailed as far the Iberian Peninsula as they delivered the OVNI yacht to its owner, when the first of three orca-related incidents happened on the same day.

Up until then it had been a smooth journey from Southampton, Hants, the Mirror reports.

Dieter from Dorchester, Dorset recalled at the time of the judder, two of the men had been up on deck and the other was below making breakfast.

He revealed he was left helplessly attempting to steer the the wheel back on track as the crew decided to switch everything off to protect their attackers.

Dieter said: "I looked over to see two juvenile Orcas nudging at the boat and attacking our rudders.

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"We had no choice but to let the boat drift for around 20 minutes. The whales would move away from the boat then suddenly charge at it, hitting the sides violently."

No lasting damage was left to their vessel but around the same location later that day, it was reported two more boats had been targeted by whales leaving scientists baffled.

Dieter added: "Later that day we heard that two other boats had been attacked – one was so badly damaged it had to be towed to shore.

"In the other, a crew member was injured because of the force of impact from the whales."

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One theory explaining the whales' behaviour is that they mistake rudders for prey.

A total of 45 incidents were recorded between July and November last year where mostly young killer whales interfered with boats, in many cases damaging the rudders.

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