Galway swimmers are being urged to stay out of the water in the Salthill area after an incident with a dolphin at Blackrock this evening.
Five people were taken to shore by Galway RNLI after the Valentia Coastguard received reports of a dolphin ‘causing difficulty’ for swimmers.
A spokesperson for the RNLI told TheJournal.ie that the call went out at about 7.25pm after the five were surrounded by the animal. The dolphin, described as a ‘large adult’ then swam towards the swimmers, ‘slapping’ one of them and nudging another sharply.
Other boats in the area had attempted to come to the swimmers’ assistance, trying to come between them and the dolphin. The lifeboat, with Ciaran Oliver at the helm, pulled the swimmers to safety and returned to shore.
Oliver told TheJournal.ie that the the boat continued to patrol the area for a time afterwards from Blackrock to Seapoint to ensure that all swimmers got to safety, with RNLI personnel warning others on shore to stay out of the water.
None of the five required medical attention but they are said to be very shocked.
Stephanie Carr, David Badger and Sean King made up the rest of the RNLI crew.
Mike Swan, Operations Manager at Galway Lifeboat Station said that it was a highly unusual incident:
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.
Swan said there was no way to know if this incident is connected to others involving a dolphin known as ‘Dusty’ in the waters off Co Clare and Inis Oírr.