A stranded swimmer saved by a pod of dolphins feared his rescuers were actually sharks that had encircled him.
Ruairi McSorley was rescued after he was found more than two miles off land in the icy waters of Tralee Bay, Ireland.
It emerged that the 24-year-old had previously become an internet sensation when he was a boy after a news appearance delighted viewers.
He won hearts as a teen after remarking of the snowy weather in Derry: “Oh god, you wouldn’t be long gettin’ frostbit”.
The viral video resurfaced recently as it was revealed he was the same man who was rescued several kilometres off the coast of southwestern Ireland after getting into difficulty on a daring swim.
A volunteer lifeboat crew from Fenit RNLI located the swimmer after spotting a pod of dolphins and a head bobbing above the water near Castlegregory beach, County Kerry.
In an interview with The Sun he said he was momentarily terrified as the fins appeared around him in the water.
He said: “As I was swimming I saw some black fins, the first thing I thought to myself was ‘damn why didn’t I google whether Southern Ireland had sharks?
“I thought, ‘well if they are sharks, I’m punished at this point, that or they’re just not hungry.”
Volunteers from Fenit lifeboat and Rescue 115 were tasked with searching for the swimmer following the discovery of abandoned clothes on the beach.
He had been wearing just trunks on his swim and temperatures were quickly plummeting.
Alamy Stock Photo)
Rescuers eventually found him after being drawn to the man by the incredible sea creatures.
Commenting on the rescue, Fenit RNLI lifeboat Operations Manager Gerard O’Donnell said the dolphins circled around him – perhaps in an effort to protect him and draw attention to his whereabouts.
Coxswain O’Donnell thinks they may have tried to herd him back to safety.
When being finally pulled to safety he asked his rescuers whether they had been sharks and if he had been in any danger.
They explained that they were only dolphins and were probably trying to help him.
After fully recovering from his ordeal he said he is now preparing for his next adventure and plans to become an auctioneer in Texas, US.
He told the publication that his brush with drowning has prepared him to face anything.
He added: “If you choose to make things hard out of choice, you’re ready for anything. It’s like my way of dwarfing what most people would see as big challenges in life.”