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San Diego's 8 Most-Watched Videos of 2021: Sea Life, Shocking Video and Some Coronavirus

A majority of the videos that made our top list this year were sent in by YOU! So, thank you for helping us cover the news in 2021

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San Diego, taking a look back at's most-watched videos of 2021, one thing is certain: we sure do love our sea creatures.

And why wouldn't we when that San Diego sunshine gives us about 300 days of perfect beach weather a year? You've sent us videos of amazing whale encounters, jaw-dropping shark video and some fascinating (OK, frightening) images of deep-sea creatures on San Diego's shores.

Also on our list of top 8 most-watched videos of the year are some devastating breaking news stories that would be hard to believe without the video proof -- from a horrific plane crash in Santee that destroyed homes and killed two people to a moment that shocked us all when a father took his toddler into an elephant enclosure at the San Diego Zoo.

Of course, it wouldn't be 2021 without some coronavirus news. When California announced masks would once again be required indoors at the end of the year, San Diegans needed to know more.

Oh, and we should note: A majority of the videos that made our top list this year were sent in by YOU! So, thank you for helping us cover the news. If you ever have photos or video you want to share with NBC 7, go to

Without further ado, let's take a look back at the 8 videos you watched the most this year:

8. Drone Captures Video of Sharks Swimming Near Surfers

A San Diego man is using his drone to capture images and videos of several white sharks swimming along the coast in Del Mar. NBC 7's Ramon Galindo reports.

With the advent of drones, San Diegans have been able to capture some incredible moments in a new way. Take Scott Fairchild, for instance, who said his aerial view of white sharks swimming alongside surfers along the coast of Del Mar can help people appreciate the magnificent sea creatures from a different perspective.

Drone video shows that some surfers can see the white sharks from their board. In one video a young surfer calmly paddles next to the shark -- braver than most.

One shark expert says that drones are actually increasing the number of shark sightings in Southern California, not because there are necessarily more of them, but because the technology makes them easier to spot.

Read more below:

7. San Diego Whale Watching Crew Shares Ultimate Encounter

If you're a Southern Californian, you've probably gone whale watching once or twice. But one lucky group got the ultimate encounter this September with a pod of orcas.

The Gone Whale Watching San Diego team had set their sights on two pods of orcas spotted in Ensenada, Mexico, but it wasn't until their return trip to San Diego that the group got to see these majestic creatures.

The group captured awe-inspiring video of majestic creatures swimming alongside the boat. One whale-watcher even got a pretty perfect selfie with an orca.

Read more below:

6. Dad Carries Toddler Into Elephant Habitat at San Diego Zoo

NBC 7's Lauren Coronado spoke with a resident who witnessed the incident.

Sometimes the animal moments caught on camera are less thrilling and more terrifying, like this caught-on-camera moment at the San Diego Zoo.

In March, a father was recorded bringing his two-year-old daughter into an elephant habitat at the animal park, according to San Diego police. The elephant became agitated with the stranger in their enclosure and appeared to want to charge at the man, who was holding his daughter in his arms.

As the man ran away from the enclosure, he tripped and briefly dropped his toddler, video shows. Both were able to escape unharmed, according to San Diego police, but the man was arrested on a child cruelty charge.

Read more below:

5. California Announces Indoor Mask Mandate Regardless of Vaccination Status

NBC 7's Artie Ojeda lays out the details of the new mask mandate, and the reasons behind the state's decision.

Nearly two full years into the coronavirus pandemic and San Diegans are still keeping up with changes to rules and regulations set but state and local leaders to help curb the disease that has killed more than 76,000 people in California alone.

On Dec. 13, California health officials said a mask mandate would be re-instated indoors until at least Jan. 15, citing a sharp increase in infections during the holidays.

California's Dr. Mark Ghaly made the announcement via a video press conference and San Diegans wanting to know more tuned in.

Read more below:

4. Home Security Cam Catches Plane Crash in Santee

A neighbor's home security camera captured a plane going down in Santee. The plane crashed east of Santana High School killing at least two people.

A devastating plane crash in a Santee neighborhood was captured on the security camera of multiple neighbors showing the moment a small Cessna 340 nosedived and killed two people.

While the video doesn't give much insight into what caused the plane to go down before reaching the Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport, it shows the devastation left behind when a cloud of smoke emerges and then large flames.

Dr. Sugata Das, the plane's pilot, and Steve Krueger, a UPS delivery driver who was on his route at the time, both died in the crash.

Two homes were destroyed and a couple was injured by the flames that erupted after the crash.

Read more below:

3. Couple Kicked off San Diego-Bound JetBlue Over Face-Mask Dispute

Phil and Sandi Cohen recalled the troubling events that unfolded on their San Diego-bound JetBlue flight Tuesday after a man and his wife who did not adhere to wearing face masks properly were kicked off the flight. NBC 7's Kelvin Henry reports.

Amid the pandemic, a growing number of altercations aboard airline flights were reported -- and many of them were captured on video by bystanders shocked by what was happening -- including a Phil and Sandi Cohen, who watched one of these incidents unfold on a flight to San Diego.

"I couldn’t believe my ears – we thought we were in a movie – I was scared to death," Phil Cohen said. "The reason I pulled my camera out – my phone – is I just couldn’t believe anything like this – I’ve seen it on tv and here we are experiencing it."

The Cohens witnessed a man yelling at a flight attendant who asked him to wear his face mask as federally regulated. According to JetBlue, the man “became verbally and physically aggressive toward crewmembers before eventually exiting the aircraft.”

Read more below:

2. Ultra-Rare Deep-Sea Monster Washes Up on San Diego Beach

The creature was a Pacific footballfish, a type of deep-sea anglerfish made famous in 'Finding Nemo' that has a little bioluminescent light on top of its head that acts as a lure

Sometimes the sea creatures are in the ocean and sometimes... they're frightfully not.

In November, a man stumbled across what can only be described as "the stuff of nightmares" on Black's Beach in San Diego.

It turned out to be a large species of anglerfish, the deep-sea fish made famous in the movie "Finding Nemo" for having a glowing light projecting from its forehead. This one was called a Pacific footballfish.

The fish is really rare, according to Scripps Institution of Oceanography's fish expert, who says prior to this year, the last time a Pacific footballfish washed ashore in Southern California was in 2001. But one month after this one was found, ANOTHER washed ashore in San Diego.

What's going on here? Read more below:

1. Woman Fatally Shot While Storming US Capitol Was From San Diego

NBC 7's Omari Fleming spoke to the brother-in-law of a woman shot and killed by Capitol Police officer during a storm on Congress.

Viewers were captivated when a mob of protesters who believed former President Donald Trump had been the rightful winner of the 2020 Presidential Election stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Video and images of the day spread across social media as hundreds of violent protesters forced their way inside and attempted to overturn the American election.

Video began spreading of one protester being shot by a U.S. Capitol Police officer as she attempted to crawl through a window into the House Chamber, according to USCP, a witness and the video.

The woman, identified as 35-year-old San Diegan Ashli Babbitt, died in a hospital.

Read more below:

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