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Killer whales ram boat off the coast of Morocco: 'We were sitting ducks,' says 'petrified' couple

A British couple recently shared their terrifying experience of being under attack — by killer whales. 

Janet Morris and Stephen Bidwell of Cambridge, in eastern England, were enjoying a sailing course off the coast of Morocco recently when they spotted a pod of orcas, they said.

Some of the deadly marine mammals then started bumping the boat — an attack that apparently continued for an hour, as British news service SWNS reported.


She also said, “Because everyone was calm it felt OK, but we were petrified. It wasn’t until afterward that we talked about being very scared.”

She said, “We got our valuables and our passports and talked about getting the life raft ready. It really didn’t help that conditions were bad before the orcas. The boat was moving around a lot — it was hard to distinguish one cause from the others.”

“Orcas enjoy the thrill of the chase.”

Bidwell, a 58-year-old photographer, said of the incident, “We all remained calm because we were aware that if any of us got anxious it would be infectious,” as SWNS reported. 

“We were able to do that because the skipper was so calm,” he also said. 

orcas in the water

An orca is seen beside the sailing boat during the reported hour-long attack. (SWNS)

He said that “orcas enjoy the thrill of the chase — so ideally we’d have kept still, but that wasn’t possible because of the winds.”

They then heard crew members shout, “Orcas! Orcas!” — so they rushed up to the deck.

At some point during the attack, the crew saw the orcas — six of them, at least, the crew said — chasing pieces of debris that looked like sponge in the water.

orcas in the water, May 2023

A couple from Cambridge said they “were on the course to get experience, and we’ll know what to do if this happens again,” as SWNS reported of the orca attack in the Strait of Gibraltar. (SWNS)

The orcas gave up the chase after an hour, but the steering on the boat failed — so the crew headed back to shore, as SWNS noted.

The couple will get another opportunity to do the course, Janet Morris said.

She added, “We were on the course to get experience, and we’ll know what to do if this happens again,” SWNS reported.

There had been previous reports of whales attacking boats in the area, which has baffled scientists, the same report noted. 

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