Five swimmers were rescued by the Irish Coast Guard, who were called to Salthill, Galway when an aggressive dolphin “attacked” the group, forcing them out of the water.
According to witnesses, the dolphin circled the group, swimming at them in an intimidating fashion and glancing off them with its tail and nose, The Daily Mail notes. A member of the public who witnessed the incident contacted the Coast Guard, who dispatched the Galway lifeboat to the scene. By the time it arrived, a local fishing vessel had been able to separate the dolphin from the swimmers. With the lifeboat’s assistance the dolphin was kept at bay until the group made it to shore.
In a statement, the Galway RNLI described the incident as an attack, according to the BBC, noting that while the victims were disturbed, they were not injured by the dolphin. Mike Swan, Operations Manager at Galway Lifeboat Station, pointed out that the dolphin’s actions were highly unusual.
“This is the first time we’ve been called out to aid swimmer coming under – I don’t know if you’d call it an attack, but the dolphin was definitely corralling and slapping them,” he said.
— Science Nutshell (@sciencenutshell) October 2, 2014
While surprising, the incident is far from the first time that an aggressive dolphin has caused trouble in Irish waters. During 2013, a number of people were injured in Clare by a dolphin locally known as “Dusty.” As many as five people were rammed by the animal, prompting local officials to warn residents to avoid the dolphin, fearing it may cause serious injury, according to The Journal. This past summer, the same dolphin began frequenting the area around Inis Oírr, causing a fresh round of warnings to be issued for swimmers that frequent the mostly unsupervised beach.
— Carrie F (@ThornClaw) October 3, 2014
In July, another attack was reported near Sherkin Island, County Cork, when a dolphin deliberately pushed a man underwater, lashing out with its tail and acting aggressively.
Earlier this week, researchers in France announced that they had made a major discovery involving the magnetoreceptive capabilities of dolphins, as The Inquisitr noted. Described as a sixth sense, magnetoreception is the ability to detect the Earth’s magnetic field, commonly found in birds. Utilizing submerged barrels of both magnetic and non-magnetic materials, researchers were able to determine that dolphins could discriminate between the two.
Galway RNLI Lifeboat helmsman Ciaran Oliver related that the crew swept beaches from Blackrock to Seapoint to warn others about the aggressive dolphin’s attack.
[Image via The Huffington Post]