Two dolphins have been rescued after becoming stuck in mud in the Thames Estuary.
They were spotted stranded 200 metres off the coast of Stanford-le-Hope at 5.45pm on Monday, 20 January.
It took two hours for firefighters, alongside the RNLI and Coastguard, to move the animals back to deep water using a hovercraft and inflatable sled.
"We thought once we got them to the water that would be it, but it took a lot longer than anticipated," said RNLI volunteer hovercraft pilot David Cartwright.
"They were in the water for around an hour and a half and we were about to give up when one of them perked up and swam off and then the next one followed. Hopefully they will be alright".
"It was a real multi-agency operation, at one point we had around 15 people on and around the hovercraft trying to save the animals".
The dolphins were unharmed by the operation, according to the fire service.
It's not every day that you come across dolphins in Essex... so we wanted to do everything we could to help them on their way safely.