Animal Stories

Boater Falls into Ocean, Swims 5 Hours to Oil Rig Helped by Angel Seal

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A boater from California who fell into the Santa Barbara Channel in the middle of the night earlier this month told reporters that he was preparing to die until a seal came to his rescue and pushed him to a nearby oil rig. The man believes his survival was truly miraculous as he had to swim in chilling waters and in complete darkness for hours.

In an interview with ABC7, Scott Thompson said he accidentally fell overboard while on his boat several miles off the coast of Santa Barbara. His boat sped away and he was left alone in the water wearing only shorts and a T-shirt.

There wasn’t even moonlight to guide him, he said, adding that he noticed an oil rig and decided to swim towards it as the coast was too far away. As he swam, he suddenly heard a splash and felt something touch his leg.

‘It was a medium-sized harbour seal. The seal would go underwater and he came up and nudged me like a dog comes up and nudges your leg,’ Thompson said, adding that he believed that was ‘an angel’ who came to his rescue.

It took him five hours to reach the rig, where he was rescued and given medical aid. He was then taken to the hospital and treated for hypothermia.



UNTOLD SAGAS OF THE SEA Volume I Ex-Seaman Michael Walsh Award-Winning Author keeping the dramas of ships and crews alive. International epic sea stories and tragedies are often off the radar. The author tells it like it is. A good book makes you want to live in the story. Unknown Sagas of the Sea leaves you no choice. READ FREE saves you from paying the book’s cover price. Michael will send you his bank-to-bank details if you wish to voluntarily transfer or ZELLE a gift tip or make a standing order for as little as £10. Contact to Michael at

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