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Featured Image Credit: Ruairí McSorley
A swimmer who became lost at sea off the coast of Ireland has revealed the moment he thought he was going to be eaten alive by sharks - only to later realise they were actually a pod of dolphins here to save him.
Ruairí McSorley, 24, reportedly came close to death before he became surrounded by dolphins over 4km from the shore, after spending 12 hours battling the waves off the coast of Tralee Bay, Kerry, Ireland.
McSorley, who got himself into trouble after attempting a 'spur of the moment' challenge to swim to a lighthouse located several miles off the Irish coast, was reported missing after a dog walker spotted his clothes on the beach.
The 24-year-old told The Sun: "I looked over the bay at the lighthouse and said, 'That's my kingdom!' and swam and swam and swam. I thought, 'This will be a great way to challenge myself.
"When I got to the lighthouse, I celebrated for about 20 minutes and then I started the swim back, and that's when the RNLI caught up with me.
"As I was swimming I saw some black fins, the first thing I thought to myself was, 'Damn, why didn't I google whether Southern Ireland had sharks?'
"I thought, 'Well, if they are sharks, I'm punished at this point - that or they're just not hungry.'"
Fenit RNLI responded, with crew shocked to find him alive and surrounded by dolphins miles out at sea.
Fenit RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Gerard O'Donnell said McSorley was a 'very lucky individual' and advised against swimming in the water.
"It is literally beyond us all (how he survived), he had no wetsuit, nothing," he said.
"His body temperature was so low. It dropped way down. The medics were amazed with him. It's incredible, really."
The coxwain added that the dolphins who had circled Ruairí were not acting aggressively, perhaps in an effort to protect him or herd him back to safety.
He added: "There were a lot of dolphins around - maybe they helped him in some way or another, who knows?"
McSorley was then taken to University Hospital Kerry in Tralee, but has since been discharged.
It's not the only remarkable thing about McSorley's story, either - back in 2015, the then-19-year-old became an overnight sensation after a clip of him talking about getting to school in the snow went unexpectedly viral and earned him the nickname 'Frostbit Boy'.
In the clip, a teenage McSorely was asked what he thought about his journey to school in the freezing cold temperatures, to which he replied in an extremely thick Northern Irish accent: "You wouldn't be long getting frostbit."
And although McSorley's unexpected return to the headlines didn't actually involve any snow, given that he was very, very cold and was likely just moments away from succumbing to hypothermia, it's safe to say that probably wasn't that far off 'getting frostbit' once more.