Friday, September 30, 2005

Dolphin rescued

It happened with the help of the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army, a team of volunteer marine experts from Texas and local residents of Cameron Parish, La.

NBC News reporter Kerry Sanders first came across the animal earlier this week, but he was unable to free the animal from it's watery prison behind a row of marsh grass.

Sanders' story on the dolphin and his call for help made the animal a local celebrity.

But some town residents said the attention given the dolphin seemed misplaced with all of the devastation caused by the storm.

But even some who lost everything were not without a soft spot. "We need to save the dolphin," said resident Rusty Welch. "No need to let it die right there. There's no need for anything to die a senseless death."

So the rescue team rehearsed, corralled and then captured the dolphin.

It was loaded on a Coast Guard helicopter for the flight across the marshes to the beach.
There were concerns during the 21-minute flight about the dolphin's breathing. Dolphins will sometimes instinctively stop breathing when they're out of the water.

But it survived the trip. At the beach, the team gingerly lowered the dolphin back into the Gulf of Mexico. Once it got its bearings, it swam off into the wild.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"