California man stranded off the coast helped to safety by harbor seal, he says

Scott Thompson, a sea urchin diver, was stranded in the Santa Barbara Channel in the middle of the night, miles from shore

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A California man had a brush with death a near-death experience after falling from his boat into the Pacific Ocean, at night last month, but survived after a harbor seal assisted his five-hour swim back to safety, according to reports on Wednesday.

Scott Thompson, a sea urchin diver, was stranded in the Santa Barbara Channel in the middle of the night after he fell from his boat while its motor was still running, the Mirror reported.

With no sight of the shore, which was miles away, and only wearing a T-shirt and shorts in the chilly coastal waters, Thompson faced a despairing situation.

"I thought to myself, great, this is how I'm going to die," the boater said, according to the report. "Today is the day I'm going to die."

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As Thompson attempted to catch the boat, he soon realized it was outpacing him, he told the outlet.

A grey seal pup on the beach at Horsey Gap in Norfolk, as the pupping season draws to a close at one of the UK's most important sites for the mammals. Picture date: Sunday January 23, 2021. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)

A grey seal pup on the beach at Horsey Gap in Norfolk, as the pupping season draws to a close at one of the UK's most important sites for the mammals. Picture date: Sunday January 23, 2021. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images) (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)

"That's when I realized, like, okay, we got problems," Thompson said, ABC 7 of Los Angeles reported. "And I just started swimming as hard as I could, towards the boat, and it really didn't take too long to realize like, it's getting farther, I'm not getting closer."

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Thompson immediately thought of his family and was motivated to return home to his wife and two children. 

\A person looks out over the ocean with a view of oil platform Esther and container ships off the coast of Seal Beach, California, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021.  (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

\A person looks out over the ocean with a view of oil platform Esther and container ships off the coast of Seal Beach, California, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021.  (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

"Just keep swimming, you gotta get home to your 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. 

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He planned to swim to an oil platform, which was closer than the shore, and soon received help from the marine mammal, he explained.

A view of oil platform Emmy off the coast of Huntington Beach at dusk Thursday, October 14, 2021. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

A view of oil platform Emmy off the coast of Huntington Beach at dusk Thursday, October 14, 2021. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

"I wasn't thinking about sharks or anything like that, until I hear this splash. It was a medium-sized harbor seal," Thompson said. "The seal would go underwater and he came up and nudged me. like a dog comes up and nudges your leg."

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"Did it know, like hey, this human is in trouble, hey keep going dude?" he added, ABC 7 reported.

Crew members aboard the oil platform treated Thompson, who was then taken to a hospital, according to the report.