Hero whale saves snorkeler from tiger shark in the Pacific Ocean

Hero whale saves snorkeler from tiger shark in the Pacific Ocean

A video making its way around the internet shows a humpback whale protecting a woman from a threatening shark.

As Nan returned to the safety of the boat, in the waters off Muri Beach, Rarotonga, the Cook Islands, in October, the whale even surfaced to check on her.

The whale then shielded Nan underneath his pectoral fin and pushed her through the water to safety as another whale warded off the shark with its tail.

The incredible encounter seen in the video below occurred off the coast of Rarotonga, one of the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean, The Independent reported.

For ten minutes, the whale kept persistently nudging Hauser along with its nose and attempting to tuck her under its pectoral fins. Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News AppIt wasn't until later that the film crew told her what happened - a shark was in the area. She had been so focused on the whale, that she had not been aware of the shark nearby. It's amusing how the tables are turned here: "I've spent the past 28 years protecting whales, and in the moment, I didn't even realise that they were protecting me!"

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Hauser, who lives on the Cook Islands, said to the Mirror: "I wasn't sure what the whale was up to when he approached me, and it didn't stop pushing me around for over 10 minutes".

She had heard of the altruistic behaviour of humpback whales before - protecting their young, other species of whales, seals, and dolphins - but scientists have never seen humpbacks actually protecting humans. At that moment the 50,000-pound humpback whale swam in to protect the biologist from the "potentially deadly" attack. It seemed like hours.

"I didn't want to panic, because I knew that he would pick up on my fear", Hauser told the Daily Mirror. Hauser believes the whale's action was deliberately to protect her from the apparent danger.

"They truly display altruism", Hauser said. "Some say that it is 20 feet long". Her research companions claim they turned off an underwater video drone, fearing she was going to be mauled to death - which would have captured the proof viewers wanted, knowing the shark existed. "In my head, I was a bit amused since I write Rules and Regulations about whale harassment - and here I was being harassed by a whale".

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