What started as a quiet day on the water in Seward turned into a scary, up-close encounter with a humpback whale for one family.


Anchorage dentist Guy Burk said he was in Resurrection Bay with a friend and some family members when they decided to stop and do some fishing.


He said they’d seen a humpback whale in the area but it wasn’t close to them. The boat was stopped for about 45 minutes when Burk said a whale struck them from below.


“I got ejected from the boat. It knocked everyone else in the boat down,” Burk recounted.


Burk said when he was in the water, he realized he was standing on top of the whale before it swam off.


He said he thinks the whale was trying to breach but didn’t see the boat because of the murky water.


The incident left a massive hole in the boat and it started to sink. Burk said his friend tried to get the boat to shore, but with a mile to go, figured out they weren’t going to make it.


A Good Samaritan vessel responded to the boat’s mayday call, rescued the passengers and towed the boat into the harbor.


Burk said looking back now, it could have been a lot worse because he wasn’t wearing his life jacket.


“You always think you’re going to have time to put the life jacket on when the boat starts going down. You can’t imagine something freak like this happening. If I would have hit my head, it might have turned out differently,” Burk said, adding he’ll wear his life jacket in the boat at all times now.


Burk said the boat was a total loss.


KTVA 11’s Heather Hintze can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.


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