A walrus attacked and sank a small Russian boat tooling Arctic waters on a reconnaissance mission, sending researchers scrambling to shore.
Expedition members from Russia’s Northern Fleet and the Russian Geographical Society barely escaped last week before walruses sank their dinghy, The Barents Observer reported Monday.
The group was sailing in a remote archipelago known as Franz Josef Land in the Russian Arctic, the Observer said. To get ashore for their research, they had to leave their more secure navy tugboat Altai and climb into smaller boats.
“During the Landing at Cape Heller, a group of researchers had to flee from a female walrus who attached an expedition boat when protecting her cub,” the Northern Fleet said in a press release, translated via Google.
“The boat sank, but the tragedy was avoided thanks to the clear actions of the squad leader,” the Russian Geographic Society said in a press release, as translated via Google. “All the landing participants safely reached the shore.”
Business Insider noted the researchers were in a rubber dinghy, which was likely no match for the tusked carnivorous mammal.
Stretching anywhere from 7.25 to 11.5 feet long, the fierce carnivore can weigh up to 1.5 tons, according to National Geographic.
The expedition was retracing the routes of previous Arctic expeditions to survey the islands and recover artifacts, according to Ars Technica.