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Seal Guides Boater Who Fell Into Ocean on Frigid Five-hour Swim Saving His Life

Scott Thompson said a seal helped him survive after he fell off his fishing boat in the Pacific Ocean (Pictures: Newsflash/Getty Images)

A sea urchin diver who fell off his fishing boat in the middle of the night into the frigid Pacific Ocean thought his life was over – until a seal popped up.

Scott Thompson said he made a bad call and accidentally fell off his boat into the Santa Barbara Channel in California last month, wearing just a T-shirt and shorts.

‘I thought to myself, “Great, this is how I’m going to die. Today is the day I’m going to die,”’ Thompson told KABC.

Thompson tried to swim back to his boat but unfortunately for him, he left the motor on and it got further and further away from him.

That’s when he started to panic.

‘It was like, “Wow! This is a pretty heavy situation,”‘ he said, and got into survival mode thinking about how he had to get home to his family.

‘I was devastating myself, through my mind, just picturing my girls and my son growing up without me, and my wife, you know, not having a husband to support her,’ Thompson said.

Then there was a splash, and Thompson immediately assumed the worst.

‘When I heard that splash, my heart jumped out of my chest, and I was like, F***! A shark!’ he recounted in a post on Peter Maguire’s blog Sour Milk.

It turned out to be quite the opposite of a predator.

‘A little seal popped its head out of the water right next to me, and looked at me like, Dude! What are you doing out here?’ Thompson said.

‘He was like my dog. “Come here, little buddy!” I said. He’d bob up and down looking at me, then disappear under water, pop back up, and look at me.’

The seal bumped Thompson a few times in his butt as if to push him to keep moving.

‘It was like he was telling me, Hey, Dude! Get your a** in gear and get going!’ Thompson said.

For about five hours, Thompson talked to the seal, sharing dad jokes he would tell his children and singing Grateful Dead songs. Finally, he reached an oil platform.

‘It started getting brighter and I’m just like, I’m crying. And I’m like, shouting at the sky,’ Thompson said.

Rig crew members administered first aid on Thompson and the Coast Guard transported him to a hospital where he received treatment for hypothermia.

Paul Amaral, president of the towing company Channel Watch Marine, told KABC that getting into the freezing water was ‘horrendous’ and that the night was pitch black without a moon.

Thompson is now a believer in a higher power.

‘I don’t know what it is, but there is a power greater than me,’ the boater said. ‘That was shown to me and I will never doubt that for the rest of my life.’

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