The Coast Guard Captures an Orca Breathing Off San Diego Bay

The Coast Guard Captures an Orca Breathing Off San Diego Bay

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SAN DIEGO, CA – When U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego received this report of an orca breaching off the shores of Point Loma, just a few weeks after two whales perished in San Diego Bay, it responded by sending a boat and aircrew to investigate.

By July 13, 2011, it had been determined that three orca pods – two in waters near San Diego and one just offshore – appear to be under attack. No attacks on humans – and no apparent injuries – were witnessed until, at 6:24 p.m. the same day, a large male orca breached the surface of the water and began swimming very rapidly.

In response, the Coast Guard sent three boats (two planes and a helicopter) to capture the breach.

The orca, identified as a 1,000-pound black orca named Orcas, remained at the breach site for five hours before being captured and brought to Safety Bay, where he remained for two hours before being returned to San Diego.

“The Coast Guard was asked to conduct a ‘crown-gathering’ operation and to ensure there were no other large whales in the area that may be under threat,” says Coast Guard Lt. Dave Hurd. “We went and put a cordon around the ocean near San Diego so there would be no other whales in the vicinity.”

After five hours, one of the aircraft left the scene and flew around San Diego until it found an orca pod that it knew was feeding off shore.

“The pilot circled near that pod and the pilot made some low-level flybys and at one point even radioed back, ‘You guys doing OK?’ and we saw those big orcas swimming in among the smaller orcas

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