Massive purpleback flying squid ‘larger than a human’ spotted swimming in the Red Sea

OceanX, a team of marine biologists, media and filmmakers, embarked on a quest in 2020 to explore the depths of the Red Sea where they not only found a giant shipwreck, but a massive creature that appeared to be larger than a human.

While investigating the ‘Pella,’ which sank in November 2011, at a depth of 2,800 feet, the group spotted what they thought could be ‘The Giant Squid.’  

‘I will never forget what happened next for as long as I live,’ said OceanX science program lead Mattie Rodrigue in a video taken of the discovery.

‘All of a sudden, as we’re looking at the bow of the shipwreck, this massive creature comes into view, takes a look at the ROV [remotely operated vehicle] and curls its entire body around the bow of the wreck.’

It was not until September 2021 did the team learn that the mysterious creature was ‘the giant form’ of the purpleback flying squid, which typically grow up to two feet long.

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OceanX, a team of marine biologists, media and filmmakers, embarked on a quest in 2020 to explore the depths of the Red Sea where they not only found a giant shipwreck, but also a massive creature that appeared to be larger than a human

OceanX, a team of marine biologists, media and filmmakers, embarked on a quest in 2020 to explore the depths of the Red Sea where they not only found a giant shipwreck, but also a massive creature that appeared to be larger than a human

The OceanX team traveled to the Red Sea aboard the OceanXplorer, a research vessel with a 40-ton crane to launch submersibles, towed sonar arrays and other heavy equipment down into the depths.

The ship also features two manned Triton submersibles, each of which can dive to depths greater than 3,280 feet for up to eight hours.

It includes a Remotely Operated Vehicle and an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle that can explore depths up to 19,685 feet.

OceanXplorer embarked on its maiden voyage in September 2020, which is when the crew spotted the giant sea creature lurking around the shipwreck. 

OceanXplorer embarked on its maiden voyage in September 2020, which is when the crew spotted the giant sea creature lurking around the shipwreck. The Pella sank in November 2011 while traveling to the Egyptian port of Nuweiba

OceanXplorer embarked on its maiden voyage in September 2020, which is when the crew spotted the giant sea creature lurking around the shipwreck. The Pella sank in November 2011 while traveling to the Egyptian port of Nuweiba

The OceanX team traveled to the Red Sea aboard the OceanXplorer, which is research vessel with a 40-ton crane to launch submersibles, towed sonar arrays and other heavy equipment down into the depths

The OceanX team traveled to the Red Sea aboard the OceanXplorer, which is research vessel with a 40-ton crane to launch submersibles, towed sonar arrays and other heavy equipment down into the depths

The Pella sank in November 2011 while traveling to the Egyptian port of Nuweiba.

The 485-foot-long ship caught fire off the coast of Aqaba, Jordan while carrying 1,229 passengers – one death was reported following the incident.

As the researchers used an underwater robot to cruise around the shipwreck, the giant creature swam into frame.

Rodrigue sought out help from Dr Michael Vecchione, a NOAA zoologist, who concluded the mysterious creature was a giant form of the purpleback flying squid.

While using an underwater robot to cruise around the shipwreck, the giant squid swam into frame

While using an underwater robot to cruise around the shipwreck, the giant squid swam into frame

The team wondered if the creature was a giant squid, but other experts highlighted the shape and size of its fins that form an arrow head

The team wondered if the creature was a giant squid, but other experts highlighted the shape and size of its fins that form an arrow head

Pictured is a close up of a purpleback flying squid

Pictured is a close up of a purpleback flying squid

‘In the area that you’re operating, in the Red Sea, there’s a well-known population of those,’ Vecchione told Rodrigue during a video call.

‘They get really big. I think what you’re seeing is what’s the giant form of Sthenoteuthis. 

‘They will approach bait the way that one approached bait and they often swim the away that the other videos showed the animal swimming.’

Vecchione also continued to explain that the size of the animal’s fin relative to its body shows that it is not a giant squid.

Its fins are short and broad and form what looks like an arrowhead shape, while those on a giant squid are usually massive and muscular.

 Giant squids, which are rarely observeed, can grow up to 66 feet long.

The last one to be discovered was in October 2016 and measured 30 feet long.

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