Couple Survive After Being Hit by 40-Ton Flying Whale

UPDATED 07/22/2010 at 10:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/22/2010 at 08:05 AM EDT

Couple Survive After Being Hit by 40-Ton Flying Whale
Whale that jumped on the sailboat of Ralph Mothes and Paloma Werner
Ralph Mothes and Paloma Werner have a whale of a tale to tell after a 40-ton Southern Right Whale leaped out of the water and crashed onto their yacht while they were sailing on Sunday off Cape Town, South Africa.

With a stunning photo of the incident now making the rounds worldwide, the couple, who are South African sailing instructors, are describing their terror at the time and relief when they realized they had survived.

"Suddenly I saw this huge monster shape come up out of the water on my port side," Mothes said Thursday on NBC's Today show. "It just happened in an instant. It was quite frightening."

The young whale broke the boat's mast and damaged the cabin before falling back into the water, leaving behind barnacles, blubber and skin but no blood – suggesting it wasn't seriously injured.

Thankfully, neither were the humans, who were left to marvel at the incredible incident. "It was an awesome experience," Werner said, before quickly adding: "We wouldn't want to repeat it."

See what other readers have to say about this story – or leave a comment of your own

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine


From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters