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Plane's near-miss in Alaska becomes a whale of a tale online

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[July 17, 2014]  JUNEAU Alaska (Reuters) - A dramatic video of a sea plane just missing a surfacing humpback whale as it came in to land in Alaska has become a hit online, and the man who shot it says it was blind luck.

Thomas Hamm, a San Diego businessman, was in the remote village of Angoon, about 60 miles (35 km) southwest of Juneau, last week when he recorded the footage with his cellphone.

In the video, the aircraft descends on a shallow run and is about to land in a seemingly calm bay but then pulls up abruptly as the surfacing whale blows a geyser of spray up over the plane's windshield.

"The guy I was with on the dock looked at me and said, 'Tell me you got that?'," Hamm said.

"I played it back and there was the plane and the whale ... These guys who fly in Alaska, let me tell you, they are good."

The clip, posted by Hamm on Youtube under the title "Whale v. Pontoon Plane," has received more than 170,000 views in less than a week.

(Reporting by Steve Quinn; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Paul Tait)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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