Rescue effort at Ditch Plains to save a dolphin that washed up

Dolphin Beached in Montauk Dies Saturday




A dolphin was found on the rocky shoreline at Ditch Plains on Saturday morning. Independent/Mitch Savino

Despite the efforts of a beachgoers as well as of officers from three different agencies, a dolphin found stranded along the rocky shoreline west of Ditch Plains Beach perished Saturday morning.

“I got the call about 8:30,” East Hampton Town Harbor Patrol Officer Mitch Savino said Saturday. He was the first to arrive, along with Chief Harbormaster Ed Michels, and Officer Chris Pennisi.

The dolphin was still alive. It did not appear to have any visible wounds, though there was a bit of blood on the animal, Savino said.

The dolphin was still alive when it was found on the shoreline, but died later. Independent/Mitch Savino

A Montauk couple, Rachael Wandzilak and David Dragich, hauled buckets of water from the choppy surf, and poured them over the stranded animal.

The New York Marine Rescue Center, formerly known as the Riverhead Foundation which deals with stranded or beached sea animals, was contacted. A rescue crew was dispatched with a truck for the stranded dolphin.

The truck, however, was not able to access the rocky beach where the dolphin was stranded. The decision was made to place the animal in a sling and walk it off along the beach west to the access point at Nick’s Beach in downtown Montauk.

Members of U.S. Coast Guard Station Montauk assisted, along with an officer from the Department of Environmental Conservation. The officers wrapped the dolphin in the sling. “We carried it about a quarter-mile, then we put it in a quad and took it off the beach.”

They met the rescue foundation’s truck and loaded the dolphin into it. At that point, unfortunately, it died.

According to chief harbormaster, there haven’t been many recent incidents of beached dolphins so far this season. “Last year, it happened a lot,” Michels said. “This is the first one we’ve had in a couple of months. It’s sad.”

At the end of May, a 35-foot long humpback whale was found dead on the shore in Amagansett. Just a week earlier, a decomposed 32-foot humpback whale floated ashore at Cupsogue Beach County Park in Westhampton Beach.

The dolphin’s corpse was turned over to the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, whose biologists performed a necropsy to determine the cause of death.

t.e@indyeastend.com