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Dolphins alert rescue crew and help save swimmer lost and stranded at sea for 12 hours

The man was found four kilometers from Castlegregory Beach floating among a pod of dolphins and was found exhausted and in a state of hypothermia.

Dolphins alert rescue crew and help save swimmer lost and stranded at sea for 12 hours
Image Source: Getty Images/Stuart Westmorland/Representative

Dolphins are some of the most intelligent animals in the world. They are also very empathetic creatures capable of experiencing complex emotions. They also have a great affinity for humans and because of their playful nature, they are often referred to as the dogs of the sea. The extent of their intelligence and critical thinking is often underestimated. Instances of dolphins helping humans at sea are not uncommon. But in an extraordinary feat, a pod of dolphins has apparently played a huge role in helping a person lost at sea get rescued. 


A swimmer from Ireland was pulled from the water last month off the coast of Castlegregory Beach, near Tralee, Ireland. The man in his 30s, from County Londonderry, had gone missing for more than 12 hours. A rescue team set out in search of the man when they found his clothes on the beach. He was found four kilometers from the beach floating among a pod of dolphins, reported the BBC. The man was found in a state of hypothermia and exhausted, wearing only a pair of swimming trunks. The lifeboat crew in County Kerry said that they used "every part of their training" to rescue the swimmer. Two lifeboat crews as well as a helicopter during the search. Volunteer lifeboat coxswain Finbarr O'Connell and his crew contributed to the rescue by using their knowledge of the local tide patterns.


The swimmer was brought to Fenit Harbour where he was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Kerry where he is said to be recovering well. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution updated the incident on their Facebook page: "Fenit RNLI All-Weather Lifeboat crew were on exercise when they were tasked to a search for swimmer at 12.40pm, following the discovery of clothes on a beach. Fenit RNLI Inshore lifeboat and Rescue 115 also joined the search. Conditions were excellent with calm waters and low tide and a search was undertaken of the area. With nothing found and no further information the search was stood down in the afternoon."


They resumed their search later that evening at the request of An Garda Siochána. "At 8.30pm, volunteer lifeboat crew with Fenit RNLI spotted a pod of dolphins and a head above the water about two and a half miles off Castlegregory beach. The casualty was conscious and immediately recovered onto the lifeboat and brought Fenit Harbour to be taken to hospital. Fenit RNLI’s medical advisor was also on scene," they updated. 


In the statement, Fenit RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Gerard O’Donnell said, "After a long and exhaustive search, members of the lifeboat crew were overjoyed to sight the missing swimmer in the water. They had been scanning the water for any sign of movement and were worried with light fading that they would not find anyone. Even at this time of year, the water can be very cold and as, yet we don’t know how long this person was in the water and when they entered it. When the lifeboat crew found them, they were a good distance from the shore and were exhausted." O’Donnell added, "We would advise that anyone undertaking a swim lets people know where they are going and when they expected back. This was a very lucky individual."

And this is not the first time a dolphin came to the rescue. in 2018, a passenger's vessel was in need of emergency assistance. A UK Coastguard lifeboat was at the scene within minutes and the situation was quickly brought under control. Following this, both boats were escorted back to harbor by a number of dolphins, according to the RNLI website.

Source: RNLI/Eyemouth

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