Orcas nearly capsize family on jet ski in Puget Sound

A man and his family were riding on a jet ski in the Puget Sound when something they will never forget happened: orcas swan under them.

“It was thrilling and terrifying all at the same time,” Lance Loyd, 46, said. “After my heart stopped racing, I could appreciate how truly majestic and beautiful they were.”

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Loyd first talked to The Tacoma News Tribune about the encounter that happened in early September.

Along with his 10-year-old son and 16-year-old niece, the trio had been out on the water near McNeil and Fox islands for nearly 30 minutes when they saw the orcas.

They kept their required 200-yard distance and turned off the jet ski engine. Then the mother orca swam underneath them, while the baby came up and almost hit the jet ski.

“For about three seconds I wasn't sure what to do because my main concern was the safety of my son and niece who are on the jet ski with me,” Loyd told KIRO 7 on Tuesday. “Once I realized they had passed under us and we're just continuing on, I was able to relax a little although I was shaking for several minutes.”

The sightings are frequent because it’s the time of year when Chinook salmon are returning to Puget Sound waters, and attracting orcas.