VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The US Coast Guard is investigating after four passengers were hurt when a whale-watching boat was hit by a large wave on Saturday morning. The whole incident was caught on three Surfline cameras.
During the 10 a.m. Virginia Aquarium whale-watching boat trip, a rogue wave hit the boat while it was going through the Rudee Inlet, said Matthew Klepeisz, the spokesperson for Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.
“We were in the office listening on the radio and we heard the call,” explained Skip Feller.
Feller runs Rudee Tours and has no association with the boat that hit the wave, but he said the captain of that boat stopped at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center after the incident.
“It’s very scary and our hearts go out to the people that were affected,” Feller said.
First responders and workers at the center helped get shivering cold people off of the boat and medics took four people to the hospital with minor injuries.
“We actually had 80 people standing in our booking office, freezing cold, that we were just trying to get warmed up," Feller said.
Many people took to social media asking why life vests aren’t required on certain boats.
Feller explained. “On an inspected vessel, kids are not required to wear life jackets but the boats do have life jackets for everybody on board, including kids.”
Feller hopes this incident doesn’t stop people from going out in the water to whales show off.
An aquarium spokesperson said they aren’t sure of next steps, but the goal is to resume tours in the future.
“It was a freak accident and it was not the norm,” Feller said.