Dolphins are incredibly intelligent creatures; and amazingly, they’re also famously compassionate towards humans. There are countless stories of dolphins lending people a helping flipper in dangerous situations, from warning off great white sharks to saving kids from drowning. One most recent example comes from Ireland, where a pod of dolphins helped rescue a stranded swimmer in the sea near Castlegregory in County Kerry.
The swimmer, an unnamed man in his 30s from County Down, was missing for almost 12 hours before he was spotted by Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat volunteers on August 22. The team underwent an extensive search after his clothes had been discovered on Castlegregory beach earlier in the day. After a full day of searching, at around 8:30 p.m., a lifeboat crew spotted a pod of dolphins surrounding the swimmer about two and a half miles off the coast. The man was conscious, but was “hypothermic and exhausted.” He was immediately brought to the hospital, where he is now recovering.
The man told rescuers he had intended to swim out to Mucklaghmore Rock, five miles out from where he set off at Castlegregory beach. However, he became stranded and freezing, wearing only a pair of swimming trunks. The animals surrounding him were later identified by conservationists as a population of bottlenose dolphins living in Scotland's Moray Firth. The group has been spotted in the area since 2019 and, lucky for the swimmer, they were around when he needed them. Due to the large size of the pod, they helped draw attention to the lost swimmer. RNLI coxswain Finbarr O'Connell says there were “a lot of dolphins around” where the man was finally located. He added, “Maybe they helped him in some way or another: who knows?”
A pod of dolphins alerted a rescue team to a lost swimmer near Castlegregory beach in County Kerry, Ireland, who was stranded for 12 hours.