NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A dolphin found itself in distress in a creek nearly Coney Island on Thursday, but after being visible for several hours, it vanished under the water.
Observers feared the worst.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, around 2:30, the dolphin appeared to try to beach itself on rocks, and then drifted slowly in the water and has not been seen since.
State conservation officer said officials will return Friday morning during low tide to look for the dolphin.
“They tend not to come this far up — polluted waterway like this — if they’re not looking for a place to die,” said Patricia Sener, who works nearby.
The NYPD and FDNY was on the scene Thursday at Cropsey Avenue and Bay 54th Street. As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, the NYPD’s Elite Emergency Services Unit and the Harbor Unit went into Coney Island Creek to remove a boom and some debris in an effort to help the wayward dolphin swim away.
“If they get in really shallow water, they can get stressed out,” police Lt. Barry Duignan told Diamond earlier Thursday. “He could be sick for having swam into such a shallow body of water like this.”
The creek is a narrow body of water on the northwest side of the island. Authorities hoped that a rising tide would have helped with rescue efforts, CBS 2’s John Slattery reported.
Duignan told Slattery that he had never seen a dolphin stranded in this type of water.
“I’ve only had this one other time,” he said. “It was off the ocean beach. If they get in really shallow water, they can get really stressed out.”
The dolphin drew a crowd of onlookers.
“We all want a positive outcome and we want to try to help, but it seems like the best thing to do is to let Mother Nature take her course,” Sener told Diamond.
Experts warned even before the dolphin disappeared that the situation could be dire.
“If he’s debilitated, it may not be good,” explained Paul Sieswarda, who was the curator of the New York Aquarium on Coney Island for 20 years. “If he’s in good shape and the tide comes in and he swims out, it will be OK.”
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