Out on a family trip on their small family boat for her and her husband's 18th wedding anniversary, Chrissie Frickman did not anticipate the accident that had caused her to break her ankles: a dolphin suddenly leaping onto their boat.
Chrissie is recovering from the accident while the dolphin is back in the waters, least likely hurt.
Chrissie and her husband Dirk hopped onto the 21-foot Boston Whaler with the rest of the family, Tristan, 12, and Courtney, 16. On their way back to Dana Point Harbor, they stumbled upon and took a moment to watch a pod of dolphins swimming and flipping alongside the boat.
Then, suddenly, a 350-pound dolphin made its way up in the air and landed on their boat, right on Chrissie and crushing her legs.
Chrissie was brought to the emergency room where she spent five hours being treated for her two broken ankles, one with a clean break that may no longer require a plate or pins to heal and the other with torn ligaments around the break.
Dirk described the incident as bizarre and said that when he tells people about it, no one believes him.
He felt relieved no one in his family got knocked out of the boat; however, he did recall that the dolphin "punched his daughter" and "hit his wife."
The events that followed—from when the dolphin landed on the family boat up to when Chrissie was finally brought by an ambulance to the emergency room—were a complete chaos.
Dirk had to pull his wife out from under the dolphin and hurried to get the boat back to the harbor. The sight was a frantic family and a huge dolphin splashing blood around a small boat. Even the officers of the Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol, who had already received warning from Dirk over the radio and hurried to assist them, said they had never seen anything of the sort before.
Despite much surprise and shock among the family and patrol officers, Chrissie and Courtney were quickly transferred to the Harbor Patrol, which took them to the hospital.
The dolphin had a few cuts on its tail and nose. Neither the Frickmans nor the Harbor Patrol officers can tell what prompted the dolphin to suddenly leap onto the boat. It was safely released back into the waters right after the incident.