By Andrea Romano
August 21, 2018

Two fishermen off the coast of Long Branch, New Jersey, were unharmed when they encountered a whale while having what was likely supposed to be a relaxing afternoon of fishing.

Retired Trenton firefighter captain Gary Szabo heard the distress call the fishermen sent out and rushed to their aid, reported. He found the two men holding on to their 25-foot capsized boat and quickly pulled them to safety.

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and New Jersey State Police also came to the scene, and the police posted a photo of the capsized boat on its Facebook page.

“[The whale] was 10 stories high if he was a foot,” according to the New Jersey State Police.

“They were in good spirits. They're going to be sore in the morning,” Szabo told He also mentioned on Facebook that the waters had tons of baitfish, which might have contributed to the whale flipping the boat over. This whale seemed to be quite competitive when it comes to lunchtime.

Szabo posted about the incident after the fact, mentioning a few other privately owned boats that came by to help as well: “Please know that I was not the only boat that responded to assist these fishermen. The ‘Irish Ayes’ from Shark River responded ... a highly experienced Captain who stood by if needed as well as the sport-fishing boat ‘My Three Sons’ which can be seen up close ready to act also,” he wrote.

“I shy away from the word “hero” as I never like to be referred to in that respect,” he added. “In the end ... everyone went home that night ... that’s all that matters.”

It’s unclear what kind of whale overturned the boat or exactly why it did so. The NJSP joked on Facebook that “charges against the whale are pending its apprehension.”