See the Terrifying 16-foot “Bad Omen” Chilean Fisherman Pulled From Ocean

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: October 18, 2023
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You may not believe in sea monsters, but when you see what a group of Chilean Fishermen pulled from the ocean you may change your mind! In the coastal city of Arica, Chile near the border of Peru, a fisherman caught a rare oarfish.

Watch Footage of the Amazing Catch Below!

The Oarfish–an Earthquake Prophet?

Oarfish are thought to be bad luck and a “bad omen”. This 16-foot “bad omen” is concerning due to a legend. The legend says these strange-looking, giant eel-like fish can predict earthquakes and tsunamis. They typically live in the deep waters of the ocean so are hardly ever seen by humans. The times that they have surfaced have coincided with some major earthquakes in the past.

Giant Oarfish

Some humans believe that oarfish are predictors of earthquakes and tsunamis.

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©Dotted Yeti/

In March of 2011, an enormous earthquake and tsunami destroyed much of the coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, Japan. Reports of nearly a dozen oarfish being spotted and washed up on shore happened before the earthquake hit. This event convinced people even more that these oarfish are a “bad omen” and can predict the onset of earthquakes. Now, the people in Arica, Chile are concerned that they might be next!

Oarfish Facts

What is an oarfish? In this video, you will see the marina in Arica with a group of Chileans standing on the shore watching as a giant crane slowly lifts the oarfish out of the water. It just keeps coming, this 16-foot “bad omen” is massive! Oarfish are almost like eels with long skinny bodies, but their bodies are broad and ribbon-thin. Their dorsal fin is a series of fine red spikes that are all along the length of the body. At the top of the head are a series of long spikey hair-like projections that jet backward. They have oar-like pectoral fins which are where they get their name. Sometimes they are called the “King of Herrings” because large schools of herring have been sighted following the giant oarfish as if it was their loyal king.

Giant Oarfish

The Giant oarfish (Regalecus glesne) holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest bony fish in the world.

©Dotted Yeti/

Oarfish are the longest bony fish in the world. They can get to be 26 feet long but most are around 10 feet. In this video, you will see the crane pulling the oarfish from the ocean. You can understand why it is a terrifying “bad omen”! The crowd is chatting in Spanish, surely impressed by the size of the sea creature but also aware of the legend and the bad luck that may be soon to come.  

Researchers have determined that there has been an increase in the number of tsunami’s since 2005. The current average is 11 events per year and many believe this is due to climate change. Researchers studying the oarfish cannot prove that they have predictive powers. But they also can’t completely deny the possibility that there is something to them surfacing before major earthquakes and tsunamis. For now the people of Arica may be on high alert until time passes and hope that this 16-foot “bad omen” is just a legend!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Dotted Yeti/

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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