California Man Stranded In The Pacific Ocean Saved By Harbor Seal

By Rebekah Gonzalez

February 17, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

A California man says he had a near-death experience after falling from his boat into the Pacific Ocean but survived thanks to a harbor seal that helped him with the five-hour swim back to safety. 

According to a report from the Mirror, sea urchin diver Scott Thompson was stranded in the Santa Barbara Channel in the middle of the night after he fell off his boat while its motor was still running. 

There was no sight of the shore and he was only wearing a t-shirt and shorts. “"I thought to myself, great, this is how I'm going to die," Thompson said. "Today is the day I'm going to die." 

As Thompson tried to swim back to the boat, he realized it was outpacing him. "That's when I realized, like, okay, we got problems," Thompson told ABC7. "And I just started swimming as hard as I could, towards the boat, and it really didn't take too long to realize like, it's getting farther, I'm not getting closer."

"Just keep swimming, you gotta get home to your family. I was devastating myself, through my mind, just picturing my girls and my son growing up without me, and my wife, you know, not having a husband to support her," Thompson said. 

He decided to swim to an oil platform that was closer than the shore and soon received help from a harbor seal. "I wasn't thinking about sharks or anything like that until I hear this splash. It was a medium-sized harbor seal," Thompson said. "The seal would go underwater and he came up and nudged me. like a dog comes up and nudges your leg."

"Did it know, like hey, this human is in trouble, hey keep going dude?" he added.

After some encouragement from the animal, Thompson reached the oil platform where crew members treated him and later took him to the hospital. 

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