Orange County

‘Like it Fell Out of the Sky': 350-Pound Dolphin Leaps Onto Boat, Injures Woman

A trip out to sea for a Southern California couple celebrating their wedding anniversary turned into a trip to the emergency room after a 350-pound dolphin leaped onto the boat, knocking the woman over and injuring both her ankles.

Dirk and Chrissie Frickman and their two teenaged children were boating off the Dana Point Harbor on June 21 when a pod of dolphins swam alongside them. One of the dolphins jumped onto the 21-foot boat, hitting the railing and bouncing inside the bow.

Chrissie Frickman wound up pinned beneath the thrashing 6-foot dolphin until her husband pulled her free. The dolphin continued thrashing and bleeding from some cuts in the back of the boat.

"It was almost like it fell out of the sky because it was so high, like it was higher than I was. It was really traumatic," " said Chrissie Frickman, who broke one ankle and tore a ligament in the other.

For the next half hour, the Laguna Niguel family was in shock, trying to calm one another.

"The dolphin was kind of sliding all around the boat, so we were trying to anticipate which way it was going to go so we could go the opposite way," the mother said.

The dolphin was bleeding profusely.

"It kind of injured its nose and injured its tail, the blood kind of started splattering all over," Dirk Frickman said. "My daughter looked and was like, 'Oh my God, please don't let it die, don't let it die, don't let it die.'"

Dirk Frickman radioed the Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol and told them what happened. The patrol responded and pulled the mother and the couple's daughter from the boat to get them to shore and an ambulance. Dirk Frickman continued into the harbor, occasionally pouring water onto the dolphin.

When he made to the harbor, two people helped get a rope on the dolphin and get it back into the water. The wounded animal swam away.

"I was scared for the dolphin," said Chrissie Frickman, a substitute teacher who is still in a wheelchair recovering from her injuries. "Like, I was kind of hoping it would just jump back out, but I knew that wasn't going to happen. I was scared for my kids, and, you know, you're like, 'Can they attack, how scared is it?' You know, just these crazy thoughts go through your head, but I'm sure it was just as traumatized as we were."

The Frickmans, along their 12-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter, were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary and Father's Day.

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