Swimmers’ surprise encounter with orcas – and their scramble to safety – caught on video

Killer whales do not regard humans as prey, and are not known to have attacked humans in the wild. But that doesn't mean the iconic mammals can't throw a scare into people from time to time.

The accompanying footage shows two swimmers in West Vancouver, Canada, reacting to an approaching pod of transient killer whales, or orcas, Sunday at Whytecliff Park in Horseshoe Bay.

Warning: video contains strong language.

A whale of a good time here at Whytecliff Park today.

A post shared by Robin Léveillé (@robin_leveille) on

The swimmers had jumped off the rocks and were enjoying a refreshing dip when the orcas drew closer, causing the two men to scramble quickly back onto the rocks. Based on their reactions, as one large orca swims only a few feet away, it was an experience they'll never forget.

The footage was captured by cinematographer Robin Leveille, and appears on his Instagram page.

The next day, several transient killer whales were spotted in nearby Cowichan Bay, and it’s likely that they were from the same group. (See Facebook post embedded below.)

While it's likely that the orcas were simply curious about the swimmers and meant no harm, it's understandable that swimmers would crave dry land in the presence of such sleek and powerful mammals.

Transient killer whales can measure to about 26 feet and weigh up to 6 tons. Their primary diet consists of other marine mammals, including baby whales.

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