This is the incredible moment a crafty penguin escaped a pod of hungry killer whales by LEAPING into a dinghy full of tourists – to rapturous applause.
The wily creature was caught on camera repeatedly jumping out of the water in a dramatic chase that circled the tour boat before it managed it flung itself aboard and stood proudly surrounded by the beaming holidaymakers.
Travel blogger Matt Karsten and his wife Anna, 32, were taking a tour through icebergs in the Gerlache Strait, Antarctica, when a large group of orcas swam up to their Zodiac boat.
The apex predators spotted a gentoo penguin swimming nearby and, sensing a quick snack, gave chase after the solitary bird, darting between the tourist boats as their would-be-victim tried to give them the slip.
Heart-stopping footage shows the penguin repeatedly jumping out of the icy water with the killer whales in close pursuit as the hunt does loops around the boats.
Suddenly the penguin makes a bid to get into one of the boats but lands just short and instead bounces off the side of the vessel and back into the sea.
Mere seconds later, the penguin successfully makes it over the rim of the boat and is helped aboard by the tourists – to cheers from the crowd.
Matt, 40, said: “It was crazy to see in person. It was like watching a National Geographic episode on location. I imagine the penguin was very relieved to get away.
“We were heading out for a scenic Zodiac cruise between icebergs when a large pod of orcas showed up playing in the water besides us.
“They swam right up to the camera and said hello. Suddenly the orcas started chasing a gentoo penguin trying to eat it.
“Back and forth they went with the penguin swimming fast with the orcas on its trail. Eventually the poor penguin tried to jump into a nearby zodiac boat.
“The penguin failed at first, falling back into the water, but then managed on the second attempt.
“The orcas did follow the zodiac boat for a while. They did give up in the end leaving the penguin safe with his new friends.
“After cruising for a little bit, the penguin said goodbye to the boat and hopped back into the icy water.”
Matt – who calls himself the Expert Vagabond – has been travelling around the world visiting more than 50 countries since 2010 and is currently based in Yucatan, Mexico, after the birth of his second child.