We immediately deployed and once on-scene quickly assessed the situation.
Using a large inflatable mat, which is intended for rescuing dolphins trapped in mud, we were able to repurpose it as a platform to enable the response team to reach the dolphin and safely extract it from the ice and slush.
Once in a stretcher the dolphin was carefully brought to our rescue trailer which serves as the team's mobile marine mammal medical unit. The small female common dolphin's health was assessed, vital signs were monitored and wounds from the ice were treated.
Despite a slight drop in temperature from being trapped in the ice the animal's overall health appeared well enough to be released. We applied warming blankets to gradually raise the dolphin's body temperature and then used the trailer to transport the dolphin to a nearby beach that was free of sea ice and had good access to deep water right off shore.
Under the yellow glow of the portable flood lights, we carefully carried the stretchered dolphin to the edge of the water.
As soon as the stretcher was lowered into the water the dolphin's tail began to move, showing us that she was ready to swim away.
We gently released her and watched as she swam out of view of the lights and back into the ocean.