A FISH farm worker has been hailed a hero after singlehandedly saving two dolphins from dying on a beach.
Shea Coyle (22) is more used to dealing with salmon in his job in Fanad, Co Donegal.
And his dad Michael says the dolphins jumped out of the water 'as if to say thank you' after the rescue.
"I looked out the window and at first I thought it was two surf boards turned upside down, with the fins showing above the water," said Michael.
Michael and Shea went down to the beach and soon realised that the dolphins were embedded in the sand in shallow water on Downings beach.
"They were in the water, just about, but they were stuck in the sand and trying desperately to wriggle free," Shea said.
"I got into the water, after about 10 minutes I got one dolphin safely out into deeper water and he stayed there while I got to work on the second one.
"I eventually got him – or her – out and then they took off."
Michael added: "They were jumping through the water, but they hung around the pier for a while. It was as if they were saying 'thank you' before heading off out to sea."
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said there had been a number of 'strange strandings' of dolphins in recent weeks, without any explanation.