A new book claims a school of dolphins once came to the aid of a suicidal girl off the waters of Los Angeles, California.
Marine biologist, Dr. Bearzi, writes about the incredible encounter in, Dolphin Confidential: Confessions of a Field Biologist, an excerpt of which was published by National Geographic.
Bearzi explains that her team was following a school of bottle nose dolphins near the shore to study their behavior, when one individual suddenly broke away from a feeding circle and headed for deeper waters.
The rest of the pack chased after him, much to the researchers' surprise, as they were used to tracking the animals back and forth within a few hundred yards of the beach.
They followed the speeding dolphins to around three miles off the coast.
“The dolphin group stopped, forming a sort of ring around a dark object in the water,” she writes.
It was then that Dr Bearzi’s assistant saw the girl floating in the water.
“As the boat neared, she feebly turned her head toward us, half-raising her hand as a weak sign for help,” Bearzi, writes, before going on to explain that they alerted the lifeguards and lifted the girl out of the water before speeding back to the nearest harbor, Marina del Rey.
The girl—barely 18 and on vacation with her parents—had severe hypothermia so they wrapped her in a blanket and hugged her in an effort to warm her.
Emergency doctors later told the researchers that the girl would make a full recovery—it later transpired she had left a suicide note.
“If we hadn’t found her, if the dolphins hadn’t led us offshore when they did, to that specific place, she would have died,” Dr Bearzi claims.
“What might they have done with her if we hadn’t been there? Might they have tried to save her?”
The highly intelligent mammals are known to swim under struggling members of their own species to help them reach the surface, and it's thought that may extend the same charity to other species.
Dolphins reportedly saved 12 divers who were lost in the Red Sea for over 13 hours, by staving off nearby sharks. Rescuers also reported that the animals seemed to be trying lead them to the divers.
In recent years, dolphins came to the rescue of a stranded pod of whales and also rescued a human that was bitten by a shark by driving the predator away so the man could be saved.
However, some scientists claim the mammals do not intentionally save people—but Dr. Bearzi believes otherwise.
“That day I witnessed coastal bottlenose dolphins suddenly leave their feeding activities and head offshore. And in doing so, they led us to save a dying girl, some three miles offshore. Coincidence?” She asks.
Meanwhile, there is this: