DANA POINT, CA -- Interacting with dolphins and watching them in their natural habitat is an experience nature lovers usually enjoy. But for one family, things took a frightening turn when one of the marine mammals jumped into their boat.
Dirk Frickman, his wife Chrissie and their two children from Laguna Niguel were enjoying Father's Day on their 21-foot boat. It was also the couple's 18th wedding anniversary. They said the dolphins were especially playful.
"I remember watching them jumping and thinking, 'Wow this is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen,'" said Chrissie Frickman.
About half a mile from Dana Point Harbor, the Frickmans said a dolphin jumped into their vessel.
"It was almost like it fell out of the sky because it was so high," Chrissie Frickman described.
"The dolphin hit the rail, came into the boat, knocking her over. It brushed my daughter and just missed my son," said Dirk Frickman. He said the 350-pound dolphin started flapping, pinning his wife's legs.
"I kind of grabbed her and pulled her down the side of the boat to get away from the dolphin," he said.
Photos taken at the scene show blood from the dolphin. Dirk says it suffered cuts to its nose and tail as it thrashed around.
Dirk radioed for help.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol reached the boat. Deputy Damian Crowson said what he saw was definitely a first.
"I've never seen one jump on a boat," Crowson said.
Dirk said he poured water over the dolphin to keep it alive. Meanwhile, Chrissie was in a lot of pain, unaware she had two broken ankles.
Dirk said the whole ordeal took about 25 minutes. He managed to get the boat pulled into a nearby bait dock.
Chrissie was rushed to the hospital. Dirk and others managed to get the dolphin up to the dock and back into the water.
The Frickmans say they're grateful to have survived the bizarre encounter and relieved that the dolphin is back where it belongs.
Dolphin jumps into Laguna Niguel family's boat, breaks woman's ankles