Seven volunteer lifeboat crew members from Ballyglass RNLI came to the rescue of a large juvenile dolphin which became stranded at Bundúla, in Blacksod Bay, just outside Belmullet last Thursday.
The alarm was raised by concerned former RNLI crew member David Tyrrell, who spotted the mammal in difficulty in an ebbing tide.
Ballyglass RNLI Lifeboats Operations Manager, Pádraig Sheeran, when contacted by Mr Tyrrell, sent the call through on the paging system to launch the inshore lifeboat, the Clann Lir. Within minutes several crew arrived at the station and prepared to help the animal as best as possible. Time was of the essence as the sea continued to recede and the hot sun was further drying the scene and the animal.
Without delay, both the RNLI inshore boat crew and shore crew proceeded to carry out the rescue. The volunteers succeeded in lifting the dolphin on to a stretcher, which they lifted on to the inshore lifeboat which proceeded out and in to deeper waters close to Claggan Island.
At this point, in sufficient depth, the crew released the dolphin which swam away, but not without surfacing a couple of times, much to the delight of the onlooking rescuers. Conditions at sea were favourable with a calm sea at the time, no wind and excellent visibility.
Speaking about the incident, Allen Murray, Ballyglass RNLI mechanic said: "We are always ready, trained and equipped to save lives at sea and we are delighted that we had a successful rescue of a dolphin today. The crew involved were professional and efficient and were back at station with boat ready for service in record time.
"We would like to remind people to exercise caution when near or around water especially when the weather is fine. Wear a lifejacket and inform people if you’ve plans to go near or on the water and what time you are due back. Be aware of rip currents and never swim alone.
"Be mindful, while near the water of risks and hazards. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for people or animals that may be in difficulty and call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard if assistance is required."