Apparently, the UK should employ dolphins in their search and rescue teams more often. This weekend, a pod of dolphins helped rescuers save a man’s life off the Irish coast.
BBC reported that the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) started searching the waters after clothing was found on a beach. Despite the clothes, no swimmer could be seen in the waters near Castlegregory in County Kerry, Ireland.
For about 12 hours, the RNLI patrolled the waters to look for the swimmer. Eventually, they noticed a pod of bottlenose dolphins swimming nearby. When the RNLI volunteers looked closer at the pod, they noticed a human head sticking up amongst them.
According to BBC, an RNLI statement said, “At 20:30, the 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.”
We’re not sure if the swimmer found the dolphins or if the dolphins found them. What we do know is that “the casualty was conscious and immediately recovered onto the lifeboat and brought Fenit Harbour to be taken to hospital.”
Without those dolphins helping rescuers, the swimmer might never have been found.
Per BBC, the bottlenose dolphins belonged to a population that usually hangs out in an area of Scotland called Moray Firth. Though, they’ve appeared from time to time on Ireland’s coast since 2019.
RNLI Discusses Incredible Rescue Where Dolphins Help Rescuers Locate Missing Swimmer
BBC later reported that the man is from County Londonderry and is in his 30s. When the pod of dolphins helped rescuers locate him, he was only wearing his swim trunks. The RNLI reported that he was “hypothermic and exhausted” when they found him.
After being taken to University Hospital Kerry, BBC said that he seemed to be “recovering well” from his ordeal. At the time, he told rescuers his goal was to swim to Mucklaghmore Rock. It’s about 5.5 miles away from the beach.
RNLI volunteer Gerard O’Donnell cautioned against people swimming too far in the Atlantic Ocean on Ireland’s west coast, where the water can be freezing even in summertime.
“We would advise that anyone undertaking a swim to let people know where they are going and when they are expected back,” he told BBC.
But O’Donnell said the rescuers were just “overjoyed” to find the man.
“They had been scanning the water for any sign of movement and were worried with light fading that they would not find anyone,” he said. “This was a very lucky individual.”
Another RNLI volunteer named Jackie Murphy said it was a “miracle” that the swimmer survived. She also applauded the rescue crews, who used “every part of their training” to rescue the man. With the help of some friendly dolphins, of course.