A walrus attacked and sank a small Russian boat crossing Arctic waters for a reconnaissance mission, sending researchers scrambling to shore. 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 attempting to get ashore for their research, meaning they had to leave their more secure navy tugboat Altai and climb into smaller boats. Their expedition was retracing the routes of previous Arctic expeditions to survey the islands and recover artifacts
“During the Landing at Cape Heller, a group of researchers had to flee from a female walrus who attacked 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. 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.
Reaching almost 12-feet long, a walrus can weigh up to 1.5 tons, according to National Geographic.