PICTURES show firefighters rescuing two dolphins from muddy water.

Photos taken by the crews show the rescue operation in action in Stanford-le-Hope after they had become stuck 200 metres from the shore.

Crews worked with the Coastguard and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to use a hovercraft, which allowed them to reach the dolphins more efficiently. Firefighters were also assisted by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue organisation throughout the rescue.

Firefighters managed to release the dolphins and used an inflatable sled to help move them back out to sea by 5.45pm.

Both animals were unharmed.