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Did Dolphins Save Injured Diver? Rescued Diver Tells of Epic 56-hour Struggle to Survive

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FERMAIN BAY, Guernsey -- A scuba diver who was hit by a boat and knocked unconscious survived 56 hours in the water, apparently being watched over by dolphins.

Matthew Harvey went diving alone in the frigid waters of Fermain Bay, off the Channel Islands (between England and France) on Saturday morning, and when he failed to return home, his family reported him missing. An air and sea search was conducted but was called off on Sunday evening.

Then, after more than 50 hours, Harvey was spotted 200 yards from shore by the crew of a passing yacht. Rescuers Anne and Steve Westwood said Harvey was surrounded by at least 150 dolphins when they found him.

"We saw this black object and it looked a bit like a sunfish that appeared to be some kind of wave," Steve Westwood said. "And so we just went over to take a look and realized it was a diver -- and, pretty obviously, an injured diver, but still alive."

Mark Simmonds, of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said the dolphin story didn't sound fishy to him.

"Its entirely possible that they did understand he was in trouble, and it's quite possible they helped him," Simmonds told NBC.

"Certainly the dolphins -- as intelligent air breathing mammals themselves -- are well known to help other wounded or dying members of their own schools get to the surface. They seem able to extend this understanding to our own situation," said Simmonds.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

5 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

I believe animals whether they be in water or land are free thinkers like us humans. The only problem is that they are unable to move like us. Its like dogs i suppose if you teach it tricks the dog learns what he is taught and how do we know other animals dont do the same if they are taught or not? its obvious that we have a long way to go before understanding the nature of animals they are as unpredictable as the human race. Lets just be grateful that we are able to study such magnificant creatures.......
   comment# 1   - Carina · Wittmann, Arizona · Jun 28, 2007 @ 2:37pm

I dont think that it is just coincidence that these dolphins happened to be there. I do think that they helped this man. I read that in ancient times dolphins were land creatures almost as supple as humans but they had to return to the sea. I think it was something of a dark force that they had no choice. I think that they are reminding us the value of life. I think that they are the gaurdians of the sea. Like the sea gods children. If you have ever worked with dolphins before you would notice that there fins are actually hands delicatly grown over. I think that they are somewhat mermaids. I'm actually only 12.
   comment# 2   - Chanel DeMalmanche · Westport via waimangaroa · Sep 15, 2007 @ 7:26pm

This is nor surprising at all to anyone who has had any contact with these creatures in the wild. You very quickly realise that they are extremely intelligent and if you are responsive they will try to interact with you. Tiny gestures and movements show their intent and they can read the intent of other creatures in the same way so if you swim after them they will swim away. If you are patient (and lucky) they will come to you and attempt to interact with you, they have a fun sense of humour and will play with you if they are in the mood so it's easy to see that they could sense if you are hurt and need help.
   comment# 3   - Ian Clarke · Merseyside, UK · Jan 29, 2014 @ 4:08pm

Not surprising. Dolphins are the world's second smartest animal, only after humans. Time and time again we see incredible moments of not only humans helping dolphins in need, but also dolphins helping humans in need. They are literally our brothers and sisters of the Ocean.
   comment# 4   - RC · Riverside, USA · Sep 13, 2014 @ 10:00pm

What a nice story. It isn't the first time I read such thing. We have to explain, ONCE FOR ALL that this marvelous creature isn't to eat, to explain that to the japanese people. Same for the whales. Barbarian people, the ones who eat such animals.
   comment# 5   - Chris · Montreal · Apr 20, 2015 @ 1:10pm
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