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Dolphins rescued from Thames mud by lifeboat crews

This is the moment stricken dolphins were saved from the Thames by lifeboat crews.

The two creatures found themselves in a sticky situation after burrowing into mud flats off Gravesend.

The crew rescues the stranded dolphins. Credit: RNLI

Crews from Gravesend and Southend worked alongside Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and British Divers Marine Life Rescue to save them in treacherous conditions.

They were called out at 2pm yesterday following reports the dolphins were stranded about 100 yards from the shore at Mucking Flats, to the west of London Gateway Port.

The dolphins had created a hollow in the mud and it took around two hours before the RNLI crew, firefighters and divers could free the creatures.

By using inflatable rafts from the fire service, the two mammals were then ferried to open water.

They were back in the water for around an hour and a half before one of them perked up and swam off, followed by the other.

Southend RNLI hovercraft rescues two stranded dolphins along with Gravesend Lifeboat crew safety cover. Picture: RNLI/ Paul Dunt
Southend RNLI hovercraft rescues two stranded dolphins along with Gravesend Lifeboat crew safety cover. Picture: RNLI/ Paul Dunt

RNLI volunteer hovercraft pilot David Cartwright, said: "It was a real multi-agency operation, at one point we had around 15 people on and around the hovercraft trying to save the animals, we would never have done it without the hovercraft."

Dolphins, whales and porpoises are occasionally spotted in the river.

While porpoises are fairly regular visitors whales and dolphins are less common.

If you spot one you should contact the Port of London Authority on 0208 855 0315 and if it is in distress a vessel will be sent to its aid.

Read more: All the latest news from Gravesend


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