Dick Van Dyke once had his life saved by a pod of porpoises

The Mary Poppins star recalled how a pod of porpoises rescued him from dire circumstances after a leisurely activity went dramatically wrong

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Dick Van Dyke is probably more at home dancing with penguins than with anyone else. However, the Disney movie star, who is known for his role in live-action Disney movie Mary Poppins, revealed that aquatic creatures ended up saving him from death too after a trip on the surfboard went dramatically wrong.

Recalling the incident in a 2o10 chat show appearance, the certified Disney Legend, who is also known for his role in family movies like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Night at the Museum, told presenter Craig Ferguson how a trip down to his local beach ended up nearly killing him. And this time round, there were no flying car around to save his bacon.

After taking his surfboard out for a spin, the 96-year-old revealed that he ended up dozing off — and when he woke up, there was no sign of land.

“I woke up out of sight of land,” he recalled. “I started paddling with the swells and I started seeing fins swimming around me and I thought ‘I’m dead!'”

As luck would have it, the actor was wrong — he was not, in fact, surrounded by sharks, but a much gentler finned creature. “They turned out to be porpoises, and they pushed me all the way to shore.” He added, “I’m not kidding!”

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Porpoises are an aquatic mammal which, while similar in appearance to dolphins, are generally smaller, with shorter bodies, mouths, and snouts. Given they rescued the national treasure some point before 2010, I guess we have them to thank for Van Dyke’s appearance in musical Mary Poppins Returns. According to The Guardian, the porpoises were unavailable for comment.