Dolphin rescues unsuccessful


EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) – The number of dolphins who have died since being trapped in a shallow creek in the waters off eastern Long Island has risen to 10, a rescue leader said Saturday evening.

Chuck Bowman, president of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, said it was unclear how many dolphins were still alive and that rescuers could not go out on boats Saturday because of strong winds.

“It was very dangerous,” Bowman said.

The 10th dolphin’s body was found midmorning Saturday, he said.

On Friday, after a weeklong rescue effort, three living but debilitated dolphins were seen still trapped. About 20 of the “common dolphins” were first sighted about 11 days ago in the Northwest Harbor cove, which is north of East Hampton. Marine biologists feared for their safety.

The rescue effort has involved more than 80 people. Eight dolphins swam to safety earlier in the week after being coaxed out of the cove.

“Common dolphins” and another type, “white-sided” dolphins, are found throughout the year in waters off Long Island and into New England. Typically, they stay 30 to 80 miles off shore.

This group may have been chasing bait food, such as mackerel, that came closer to the coast. A preliminary study of two of the dead dolphins found their stomachs were empty.

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AP-ES-01-20-07 1914EST