New Zealand Diver Levi Gavin Escapes Rare Orca Whale Attack
By Reissa Su | February 24, 2014 5:56 PM EST
A diver in New Zealand has survived the deep ocean when he was dragged underwater by a killer whale. The 23-year-old free diver Levi Gavin was gathering kina and crayfish at Horahora Estuary on Feb 10 when suddenly an orca whale grabbed the catch bag still secured in his arm.
Tillikum, a killer whale at SeaWorld amusement park, performs during the show ''Believe'' in Orlando in this September 3, 2009 file photo. Reuters/Mathieu Belanger/Files
The whale dragged him deeper into the ocean for over 40 seconds before Mr Gavin was able to get away. The rope attaching his arm to the bag had gone loose so he was able to get away from a "death spiral." The diver had escaped the killer whale unharmed.
Mr Gavin recalled his underwater ordeal and how he survived the deep ocean. He said he tried to relax his mind and body as the orca whale dragged him deeper. His goggles had come undone. He said he wanted to open his eyes but could not see anything other than "little white bubbles.
Mr Gavin had removed his weight belt and proceeded to float to the surface. However, he realised his arm had become numb which made it difficult for him to swim. He said he saw his cousin about 30m away from him. His cousin was swimming towards his direction when he "popped up" on the surface.
It was his cousin who kept him afloat while he rested his arms. A float in the water had popped up then went down again as the whale had probably dragged it away. The outgoing tide helped Mr Gavin make his way to some rocks as he waited for his arm to regain feeling and strength.
A day after the killer whale attack, Mr Gavin was taken to the Whangarei Hospital where he was examined by doctors to see if his lungs had water.
Mr Gavin recalled that just before the orca whale dragged him down, he and his cousin saw a pod of orcas some 300m away from their diving location. He said his cousin didn't want to go diving on that day, but they went anyway. He was also offered a knife, but Mr Gavin didn't take it. The knife would have helped him right away for cutting the rope.
According to reports, over a dozen fatal attacks and serious injuries were caused by orcas in captivity. However, attacks in the wild and open water were considered rare by experts. No fatalities were ever recorded.
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