Human Interest 4 Friends on Sailing Trip Rescued After Their Boat Collided With a Whale While They Ate Pizza Rick Rodriguez and three friends were sailing to French Polynesia when their sailboat made contact with a whale — and then sank By Abigail Adams Abigail Adams Instagram Twitter Digital News Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on March 22, 2023 02:43 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Four people were rescued from the Pacific Ocean last week after their sailboat collided with a whale while they chowed down on pizza. Rick Rodriguez, 31, and three friends were sailing to French Polynesia on March 13 when the 44-foot boat, named Raindancer, suddenly made contact with the whale, according to The Washington Post. "The second pizza had just come out of the oven, and I was dipping a slice into some ranch dressing," Rodriguez told the newspaper. That's when the back half of the vessel "lifted violently upward and to starboard," he added. Rodriguez spotted a bleeding whale in the water shortly after impact, per The Washington Post and Today. The Rainmaker. Rick Rodriguez Instagram 76-Year-Old Man Rescued After Being Trapped in Grain Bin on Ohio Farm for 5 Hours Raindancer sank in a matter of 15 minutes, according to an Instagram post shared by Rodriguez. "It was just like, such a surreal moment," Alana Litz, who was also aboard, told Today. "And even when the boat was going down, I felt like it was just a scene out of a movie." All four passengers climbed into a small life raft, where they remained for several hours until they were rescued by a boat named Rolling Stones, per the outlets. Friends after boat sank. Rick Rodriguez Instagram Before the rescue, Rodriguez sent out multiple text messages to friends and family to inform them of the situation, per Today. One of those dispatches was sent to Tommy Joyce, who was sailing in a "buddy boat" behind them. Joyce later responded with, "We got you bud," and "We have a bunch of boats coming" according to The Washington Post. Friends aboard life boat. Rick Rodriguez Instagram Australian Couple Survive for 3 Days at Sea on Paddleboard: 'You Got To Buy Some Lotto Tickets' The closest boat was the Rolling Stones, captained by Geoff Stone, 42, of Muskego, Wis., per the newspaper. The vessel reached the stranded sailors after about nine hours. On Instagram, Rodriguez thanked the catamaran's "good hearted" crew for coming to their rescue. "We were all smiles for making it out of that situation alive and rescued," he wrote. Rick Rodriguez and friends. Rick Rodriguez Instagram Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Rodriguez went on to mourn the loss of his beloved sailboat, which he said was his "ticket to exploring the world." "In the end, she was lost at sea, and left myself and the crew with one last incredible story. I'll remember that boat for the rest of my life," he wrote. "What's left of my home, the pictures on the wall, belongings, pizza in the oven, cameras, journals, all of it, will forever be preserved by the sea."