Beluga whale saves drowning diver
A true story: Yang Yun thought she was going to die when her legs were paralysed by arctic temperatures during a free diving contest without any breathing equipment.
Competitors had to sink to the bottom of an aquarium’s 20ft arctic pool and stay there for as long as possible amid the beluga whales at Polar Land in Harbin, north east China.
But when Yun, 26, tried to head to the surface she found her legs were crippled by cramps.
“I began to choke and sank even lower and I thought that was it for me – I was dead. Until I felt this incredible force under me driving me to the surface,” she explained.
Mila, the Beluga whale, had spotted her difficulties and using her sensitive dolphin-like nose guided Yun safely to the surface.
“Mila noticed the problem before we did,” explained an organiser.
“We suddenly saw the girl being pushed to the top of the pool with her leg in Mila’s mouth. She’s a sensitive animal who works closely with humans and I think this girl owes her life.”
Intelligent Belugas were among the first whales to interact with humans and have facial muscles that apparently allow them to smile!
- Think of one way that the Beluga whale knew that the diver was in danger of drowning.
- Do you think that the whale had been taught to help others through training, or that it was the whale’s natural reaction to save the diver?
- This is a wonderful rescue story by a sea creature towards a human being. Discuss some ways in which WE can help whales and other ocean creatures today who face danger. Read here for some information.