Throughout the centuries, there have been countless tales of dolphins coming to the rescue of stranded fishermen, swimmers, and other seafarers.
It’s difficult to say whether these legends are true, but a recent story might convince even the staunchest naysayers!
At around 11 o’clock one August morning, a person walking their dog on Castlegregory Beach in County Kerry, Ireland, spotted a pile of clothing stacked on the sand. They scanned the sea for a swimmer, but when they couldn’t find anyone, they called local rescue crew Fenit RNLI for help.
Rescue teams arrived by boat and began searching Tralee Bay for any signs of the missing swimmer. By late afternoon, they’d nearly given up, but local police sent an additional two lifeboats and a helicopter to ramp up their efforts.
Finally, around 8:30 p.m., a fluttering movement caught a searcher’s eye. About 4 kilometers (or 2.48 miles) off Castlegregory Beach, they spotted a pod of dolphins. In the midst of the dolphins was a small human head. The man was barely keeping his chin above water.
“He was just treading water and trying to stay afloat,” coxswain Finbarr O’Connell said. “The man was obviously a competent swimmer and at this time of the year the water would be pretty warm which was definitely on his side, too. He wasn’t too bad when we pulled him onto the boat, but his body temperature was well down.”
The man went straight to the hospital to treat his hypothermia, but he is expected to make a full recovery!
Several rescue personnel called this rescue a “miracle,” noting that they don’t typically have such a positive outcome when a swimmer goes missing. Especially without knowing when a person enters the water or where they’re headed, locating a swimmer can be like finding a needle in a haystack!
Without that pod of dolphins, would they have spotted this man treading water at all?
In his official report, Finbarr noted that there were “a lot of dolphins around.” While he didn’t speculate on whether they consciously aided the swimmer, he did say, “Maybe they helped him in some way or another: Who knows?”
We wonder what the swimmer will say about this unusual experience! Regardless, dolphins are incredible animals whose intellect we can’t even begin to fully comprehend. We’re so grateful they were there to flag down the help this human needed.
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