Human Interest

whale, divers, beluga whale, mila whale
Mila pushes Yang Yin out of the water.

Diver Saved by Beluga Whale

July 30, 2009 02:25 PM
by Anita Gutierrez-Folch
Mila, a beluga whale, rescued a drowning diver in a touching example of positive interaction between humans and marine mammals.

Mila to the Rescue

Mila, a beluga whale, saved Yang Yun from drowning after intense cramping paralyzed Yun’s legs, the Daily Mail reports. Yun, 26 years old, was competing in a diving contest at Polar Land in Harbin, northeast China, when Mila clamped her leg in her mouth and pushed her to the surface.

The diving contest required competitors to sink to the bottom of a 20-feet aquarium pool kept at arctic temperatures, and stay there—among the beluga whales—“for as long as possible without the aid of breathing equipment,” explains. When Yun tried to swim to the surface, her legs became cramped from the freezing water, stranding her at the bottom.

"I began to choke and sank even lower and I thought that was it for me—I was dead,” Yun told The Sun. “Until I felt this incredible force under me driving me to the surface.” The Sun explains that Mila’s “sensitive dolphin-like nose” allowed her to guide Yun back to the surface.

The contest organizers were stunned by the turn of events. “Mila noticed the problem before we did,” an organizer admitted to The Sun. “We suddenly saw the girl being pushed to the top of the pool with her leg in Mila's mouth.”

Many are wary of close interactions between humans and marine mammals. Mila’s case, however, is an amazing example of an animal actively trying to save a human life. According to a contest organizer, "[Mila is] a sensitive animal who works closely with humans and I think this girl owes her, her life," The Sun reported.

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