Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dolphin Comes Aboard

Norman Howard came out of the hospital cut up, bandaged and bruised, but otherwise in remarkably good shape considering that his morning outing on a small 17-foot boat ended with a 9-foot, 400-pound dolphin in his lap.

"It was slapping me pretty, hard. It was throwing some good punches," Howard said.

The group of four had just picked up bait for fishing and was cruising in the Intracoastal Waterway when the dolphin jumped, with no warning, and there was nothing they could do to avoid it. The mammal landed across the bow, right on top of the couple sitting in the front of the boat.

"I was just trying to get it off my wife. I knew she was underneath all of it," Howard said.

Montie Henderson saw the dolphin jump, tried to stop the boat, but then had to run to get the 400-pound animal off his girlfriend's parents.

"Adrenaline was going pretty good. Just got to it and rolled it out," Henderson said.

"I turned immediately to my wife, took my shirt off, tucked it under her head, and there was blood everywhere. I didn't even notice that I was bleeding," Howard said.

The group tried to continue their cruise down the Intracoastal Waterway, but when Howard's wife Barbara started having blurred vision, they cut the trip short and met up with the Coast Guard.

"We go out on the boat all the time and I love to watch the dolphins, but to have one jump on the boat, we've just never seen it," said boater Laura Hall.

Eyewitness News asked all the agencies that work on the water, Fish and Wildlife, Beach Patrol and Coast Guard, and no one can ever remember a report of a dolphin doing this.

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