Famous Miracle Dolphins in History

Miracles of Winter, Pelorus Jack, Filippo, and Dolphin Rescue Heroes

These famous dolphins have such inspirational stories that some people say God has performed miracles through them. Here are are some of the most famous miracle dolphins in history:

01
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The Dolphins Who Rescued Elian Gonzalez

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Elian Gonzalez runs past a painting April 21, 2000 in Miami, Florida that depicts his voyage in an inner tube on the ocean. Donato Dalrymple, one of the fishermen that found Elian, is also in the painting. Joe Raedle / Getty Images News

In 2000, a 6-year-old boy named Elian Gonzalez left Cuba on a boat bound for Florida in the United States, but the boat sank and everyone aboard drowned except for Elian and two adults. Elian and the other two survivors held onto inner tubes for 48 hours to try to stay afloat in the sea. After a while, however, Elian began to lose strength, slipping under the water and then grabbing the tube again as he fought to stay alive.

A pod of dolphins noticed Elian struggling and swam over to him to help. The dolphins formed a circle around the inner tube and took turns using their snouts to boost Elian up whenever he started to slip off the tube. For hours, the dolphins kept working together to help Elian until fishermen working in the area discovered and rescued Elian and the two adults who floated nearby. The fishermen reported that, when they discovered Elian, he was repeating a prayer that his mother had taught him before drowning, asking guardian angels to protect him.

Miraculously, the dolphins knew that a child would need more help than adults, so they focused on Elian -- and they figured out exactly what needed to be done and cooperated to carry out that plan successfully. Some people believe that the dolphins were actually the angels that Elian and his mother had prayed for, since angels can choose to appear as animals if doing so would help them carry out their missions.

02
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Winter

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Actor Morgan Freeman attends the Premiere of Warner Brothers Pictures' 'Dolphin Tale' on September 17, 2011 in Westwood, California. The movie is based on the true miraculous story of Winter the dolphin. Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

A dolphin who was seriously injured when she got caught in a crab trap line in the wild had to have her tail and two vertebrae removed. Most dolphins didn't survive such injuries, but this dolphin -- whom rescuers named Winter -- did. After people invented a prosthetic tail for her, Winter healed and miraculously learned how to swim in a new pattern that would accommodate her new tail.

Winter's story became the basis of the popular 2011 movie Dolphin Tale. She now lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida, United States.

03
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The Dolphins Who Rescued Todd Endris

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Cavan Images / Iconica / Getty Images

When a surfer named Todd Endris was off the coast of Monterrey, California in 2007, a great white shark attacked him. A pod of dolphins noticed what was happening to Endris and swam over to help him. As the massive shark took bites out of Endris' back and right leg, the dolphins made a protective ring around Endris and slapped the water around the shark to try to intimidate it. Then, after the dolphins started leaping in the air over top of the shark, it finally swam away.

Miraculously, the dolphins weren't afraid of the shark -- a creature much larger than them -- and they did whatever it took to help Endris, who survived after reaching the beach and getting medical care.

04
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Pelorus Jack

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Public Domain

Pelorus Jack became famous worldwide for escorting people's ships safely through a dangerous channel of water off the coast of New Zealand between 1888 and 1912. He would guide the ships through the water by swimming beside them.

Although many ships had previously wrecked in the area (due to strong currents and rocks that were hard for sailors to see), miraculously, all of the ships that Pelorus Jack led through the waters made it safely to the harbor when he guided them.

05
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The Dolphins Who Rescued Boaters During the 2004 Tsunami in Asia

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John Lund / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

Scuba diving instructor Chris Cruz was out on a boat with a group of scuba diving students off the coast of Thailand on the morning of December 26, 2004 when the seawater around them began furiously swirling around in whirlpools -- the result of a powerful underwater earthquake that would lead to a deadly tsunami later that day. Cruz's group and the people on surrounding boats talked with each other about either heading toward the mainland or staying there and trying to ride out the rough conditions until the water calmed down.

But then a group of dolphins appeared and began jumping wildly out of the water in front of the boats gathered there. The dolphins kept jumping until the people on the boats began following them, and then the dolphins led the boats away from the mainland, toward some a small island. Although that didn't make sense to the boaters, they followed the dolphins all the way, because the dolphins seemed to be eagerly communicating with them.

Later, after the tsunami struck, Cruz and the others who had been on the boats realized that the dolphins had miraculously predicted the coming disaster and led them to the place where they could be safest. If they would have headed to the mainland instead, they likely would have died in the massive destruction there, and if they would have stayed out at sea, they likely would have smashed into rocks when the tsunami hit. But on the island where the dolphins led them, the tsunami waves caused only minimal destruction.

06
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Filippo

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Sylvain Cordier / Photodisc / Getty Images

This dolphin miraculously saved 14-year-old Davide Ceci's life when Davide fell off his father Emanuele's yacht and into the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Italy in 2000. Davide, who couldn't swim, was in the process of drowning when Filippo swam to him. Davide grabbed onto Filippo, who pushed him up out of the water and toward his father's boat.

Emanuele finally realized that his son had fallen overboard when he caught sight of Davide in the water with Filippo. Then Emanuele ran over to the side of the boat -- where Filippo was working to push Davide up close enough for Emanuele to reach him -- and was able to successfully pull his son off of Filippo and into the boat. Davide made a full recovery.

Inspiring Humans

The stories of these dolphins continue to inspire people to discover more about how dolphins and humans can work together in mutually beneficial ways.