A blue whale may have been attacked by a pod of orcas in a scene caught on tape off the coast of Monterey, Calif., on Monday.
A video posted to YouTube by Monterey Bay Whale Watch, a sightseeing company owned by naturalist Nancy Black, shows the orcas swimming toward the blue whale. The orcas disappear under the water, and shortly after, the massive whale suddenly thrashes.
"This encounter was quite brief. All contact occurred under the water," Monterey Bay Whale Watch wrote on its Facebook page. "The orcas dove down near the blue whale, which surfaced with blood flying from its fluke."
Still images of the bloody fluke have been posted on the Facebook page along with other videos of the orcas.
The blue whale resurfaced a quarter of a mile away, and the orcas did not pursue it.
"There is no way for us to know what the the killer whales' intention was; they had a calf with them, so maybe it was a session of 'killer whale school,'" someone representing the company wrote.
Pete Thomas, blogger and former outdoors reporter for the LA Times, writes on his website that these types of encounters are rare and that this might be the first documented case off the California coast.
Earlier this year, Black was fined $12,500 and sentenced to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service for feeding killer whales. Her attorney said she was trying to film them eating.