Mon, 2 January 2023 at 2:16 pm GMT
Three women were involved in a dramatic rescue of a dolphin after it became stuck between rocks.
Two of the three women, Amy Walker, 42, and Carrie Warrior, 57, spent 20 minutes in ice-cold water trying to free the distressed dolphin trapped in a rock gulley.
They noticed the aquatic mammal after initially stopping to look at a flock of “unusual looking” hovering seagulls.
Ms Walker, Ms Warrior and Sarah Gale, 62, ran down the rocks at Rock-A-Nore Beach in Hastings, East Sussex, to get a closer look.
Ms Walker, a TV producer, threw her coat to Ms Gale and dashed into the water, with Ms Warrior quickly following.
They spent over 20 minutes wrestling with the current, worrying that they would not be able to free the dolphin, while Ms Gale watched on nervously.
Eventually, however, they were able to turn the creature and release it, determined not to let the dolphin suffer.
The trio – who all play for local rounders team, Hastings Rounders – spoke after the dolphin heroics.
Ms Walker said: “It was pretty tough going because the sea was rough and we couldn’t get a sure footing on the seabed because of the rocks.
“The tide was coming in so we were getting knocked over and having to pick each other up, as well as trying not to stress the dolphin even more.
“I was telling her she would be ok. We were at the tail end because we weren’t sure if she would bite us – she was really heavy.”
‘We were getting battered’
Ms Warrior, who is an artist, added: “Because the water was choppy, we couldn’t see the rocks under the water, so we were getting battered.
“Several times I thought we weren’t going to be able to free her but how can you walk away and watch such a creature suffer? She was a beauty.
“It took more than twenty minutes of both of us manoeuvring the dolphin before we were able to turn it and finally release it.
“It was definitely a two-woman job, but then we are always a team at Hastings Rounders!”
Ms Walker added: “Seeing her swim off into the distance was a really beautiful moment. We hope she’ll be okay.”
Trio thought dolphin was shark
The three women had been out on the Rock-A-Nore Beach for their Christmas walk on Dec 29 when they spotted a fox and hovering seagulls.
After spotting the distressed animal – which they originally believed to be a shark – they sprang into action.
Ms Gale, who is a retail assistant, said: “When we got closer we could see it wasn’t a shark but a dolphin or maybe a porpoise.
“Amy had read something about not approaching beached animals and she was trying to google it but we couldn’t get signal but we could all tell that time was running out for it.
“So then Amy just said, ‘hold my coat!’, and before I knew it Amy and Carrie were in the water.”
Ms Walker confirmed the dolphin safely swam off in the direction of Bexhill, west of Hastings.