Otter escapes orca by leaping into boat in Alaskan bay

"Oh my gosh, he's coming right at us. Holy cow."

John Dornellas spoke these words after seeing a killer whale stalking a sea otter in the waters of Halibut Cove, Alaska.

The terrified otter quickly makes its way towards the boat, moving towards the rear where it is able to leap on to the transom and find safety.

Seconds later, the head of the large orca that had been pursuing the offer surfaces next to the boat.

The whole incident was captured on video by 37-year-old Dornellas, a guide for local water taxi operator Coldwater Alaska.

"Is this happening right now?" he says in disbelief as the orca circles his boat and the otter nervously considers its next move.

"I'm not going to hurt you, you're good," says Dornellas, trying to convince the otter to stay on board.

The otter does return to the water, only to leap back on board again.


Chantrelle Major, on board another boat nearby, also filmed the scene, with the huge orca slowing circling Dornellas' boat.

According to T&T Creative Media, which posted the footage on YouTube, once the orca had moved off Dornellas took the boat to his next pick-up, where the otter slipped safely away.

The pod of three orcas are believed to be a transient family. Transient orcas travel from the cold northern waters of Alaska and Canada as far south as California and feed on marine mammals like seals and otters. Resident orcas in northern regions tend to feed mostly on fish.

See also: Spectacular killer whale attack in the Galapagos caught on camera

See also: Welcome to the orca's playground