Europe

Dolphin 'attacks' five swimmers in Galway Bay

Dolphins are part of the family of toothed whales that includes orcas and pilot whales. Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Dolphins are part of the family of toothed whales that includes orcas and pilot whales

Five people have been rescued from Galway Bay in the Republic of Ireland after what has been described as a dolphin "attack".

The swimmers were taken to shore after the incident off Blackrock Tower at Salthill, Galway, on Wednesday evening.

Witnesses said the dolphin circled the swimmers then swam at them in an "intimidating way".

The swimmers were not seriously injured but were left frightened by the encounter.

A member of the public contacted the Irish coastguard shortly before 19:30 BST and they asked the Galway RNLI lifeboat for help.

When the RNLI arrived at the scene, a local fishing vessel had separated the dolphin from the swimmers.

Galway RNLI said: "The lifeboat joined the fishing vessel in keeping the dolphin away from the swimmers until they made it safely ashore.

"Reports from people who witnessed the incident say the dolphin had circled the swimmers then swam at them in an intimidating way and glancing off them, coming and going, with his tail and nose.

"The swimmers were very shook up by the incident and one in particular was very shocked but did not require medical assistance."

In a statement to the media, the RNLI described the incident as an "attack".

Galway RNLI Lifeboat helmsman Ciaran Oliver said the crew stayed in the area for a while to ensure all swimmers got ashore.

Shallow seas

They then carried out a search of the shoreline from Blackrock to Seapoint to ensure no other swimmers were in difficulty.

Dolphins are part of the family of toothed whales that includes orcas and pilot whales.

They are found worldwide, mostly in shallow seas of the continental shelves, and are carnivores, mostly eating fish and squid.

Related Topics

More on this story