A stranded dolphin was rescued by volunteers, including TV broadcaster Monty Halls, in dramatic scenes at Old Mill Creek last week.
The dolphin was stuck, its blowhole in the mud, at the creek near Dartmouth last Wednesday evening, January 26. His group was spotted swimming nearby, keeping an eye on his mate.
TV broadcaster and marine biologist Monty Halls lives above the creek. He and a group of British Divers Marine Life Rescue volunteers waded through the mud to rescue the animal and bring it to safety.
Monty said: “By the time we arrived a dolphin was clearly in distress, stranded and lying on its side with its blowhole in the mud. That’s when we decided to head for the cove to right it and then refloat it using the British Divers Marine Life Rescue stretcher.Having lived above the creek for ten years, we knew the exact route, and there really was no danger to the team on the mud.
The Dart RNLI D-class lifeboat was loaded by the Coastguard and launched at 5.30pm following reports of people in the water at Old Mill Creek. The crew stood aside as the volunteers freed the dolphin, then lowered it to release it into deeper water.
Monty added: “The British Divers Marine Life Rescue volunteers were amazing – Gemma, Sarah, Ali and Hannah – and Dave from Distin Boatyard also played a blinder. Without their actions and expertise, many more dolphins would have been stranded.
“We were also very grateful that the coastguard stayed there in case we got into trouble, and of course the lifeboat played a big part in helping the dolphin get out into the main river. I’m going there tonight with a bottle of whiskey to say thank you! All in all, an amazing community effort.
Monty’s daughter Isla also played an important role in the rescue effort – keeping a spotlight on the team as they worked to free the dolphin.
Monty wrote on Facebook: “Isla came downstairs with me then stood for two hours training my searchlight on the rescue team. She was told to go home and warm up but she flatly refused. Of course your caption.
Once released, the RNLI Dart Lifeboat team worked with the volunteer lifeguards to get the dolphin to deeper water, including releasing it at the mouth of the creek when it failed again.
An RNLI spokesman said: ‘After establishing that the swimmers were all out of the water and safe, the lifeboat crew discussed how to proceed with a member of the British team. Various Marine Life Rescue who were with the Coast Guard ashore.
“Rescuers usually wrap the dolphin in a tarp and then put it back in the water. Crew members of the Dart lifeboat had worked with the rescue team before when they helped free a humpback whale who got trapped twice off Blackpool Sands in 2017.
“The volunteer coxswain decided to use the ambulance pocket on the lifeboat to keep the dolphin alongside the boat but still in the water. The adult dolphin was slowly taken to deeper water and released in the middle of the boat. He looked solid when released and swam powerfully in the river.
add a comment