Waterspout forms near sailors in the South China Sea

Video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/4s2aza34lky0vjt/VRP28637.mp4?dl=0

Fisherman were stunned after spotting a waterspout forming along the coast of the South China Sea.

Footage shows the weather phenomenon slowly stretching to the clouds above as it took shape while the boat passed by Guangdong province, China on April 26.

Seafarer Pfizer Ballesters said the whirlwind was relatively thin and small when they saw it which was better as they did not have to stray away from their route.

He said: ‘It was not to big but it was tall. It was better that way as we did not have to stray away from route. We were all amazed by the rare sight and grateful that nothing bad happened.’

Waterspouts are intense columns of swirling tornado clouds that form over a body of water. They are most commonly found in subtropical areas and disappear shortly after they come into contact with land.

Scientists believe they are formed when pockets of warm air near the water surface rise suddenly. Cooler air is then sucked into the low pressure air, which picks up water and rises towards the clouds in a rotating motion.

Waterspouts are generally not dangerous but they can be a risk for aircraft flying through the area and for coral reefs and marine life in the water immediately below. Sailors should also try to avoid waterspouts – as the consequences of floating into one could be disastrous.