Rescue
Pod of dolphins saves the life of swimmer who had been stranded for 12 hours at sea
After a 12-hour-search, the sun was setting and hope was fading, however, about 2 miles off the beach, the crew spotted a pod of bottlenose dolphins encircling a man.
Rebecca Reid
09.09.21

A missing swimmer may have a pod of dolphins to thank for his rescue.

Ruairí McSorley of Londonberry is lucky to be alive after he was reported missing off the coast of Ireland. After his clothes were found abandoned on the beach, a volunteer crew from The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) went in search of the missing person.

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After a 12-hour-search, the sun was setting and hope was fading for a possible rescue.

However, about 4 kilometers off the beach, the crew spotted a pod of bottlenose dolphins encircling a man. – bbc.com

When McSorley was found, he was conscious but “hypothermic and exhausted.” The only thing he had on was his swim trunks when he was rescued from the water.

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RNLI is calling it a “miracle” that he was spotted and rescued.

McSorley told the crew that he originally meant to swim to Mucklaghmore Rock, which was 9 km from where his clothes were found on the beach.

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The RNLI used a method of analyzing tides in the area to track the possible location of the missing person.

RNLI coxswain Finbarr O’Connell calculated where the swimmer could have ended up. – mypositiveoutlooks.com

The crew couldn’t believe that McSorley survived considering the conditions and the duration he was in the water. O’Connell suspects that the dolphins may have had something to do with McSorley making it out of the water alive.

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“Maybe they helped him in some way or another…who knows?” – O’Connell

O’Connell was happy that everything worked out for the better. He noted that if the crew had found McSorley just 30 minutes later, it could have been much worse. Neither the crew nor the medics could believe he survived. “It’s good to get a positive result. Normally we go out, and it mightn’t be that positive. We are all just elated,” – O’Connell

Did the dolphins assist in McSorley’s survival?

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According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, recorded stories of dolphins protecting humans date back to ancient Greece. – realclearscience.com

Scientists, however, do know that dolphins are incredibly intelligent, large-brained, and highly social mammals — like us in these respects. Scientists have also found that dolphins are capable of mirror self-recognition, a primary indicator of self-awareness. And, according to researchers at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, this capability “is thought to correlate with higher forms of empathy and altruistic behavior.” – realclearscience.com

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“It is literally beyond us all (how he survived)…He was only wearing a pair of trunks. He had no wetsuit. Nothing. He must have been a good swimmer because he was just over two and a half miles (4km) from the beach…He did spend that amount of time in the water, and I don’t know how he did it…It’s incredible, really.” – O’Connell

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‘It was later confirmed the helpful creatures were bottlenose dolphins from Moray Firth in Scotland who have been known to be in the area waters since 2019.’ – bbc.com

Posted by Fenit Lifeboat Station onSaturday, December 7, 2019

McSorley is recovering in the hospital thanks to the RNLI and some very intelligent, friendly aquatic animals.

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By Rebecca Reid
hi@sbly.com
Rebecca Reid is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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