One of four bottlenose dolphins trapped in a freezing New Jersey river was feared dead as rescuers raced to cut through the ice and shepherd the animals to open waters.

Dolphins, warm-blooded mammals, can live in cold water but need to come up for air every few minutes and can drown if caught under ice.On Wednesday, boats cut through the ice on the Shrewsbury River, but floes and slush rushed in to block the way anew. Rescue crews planned to return to the river Thursday.

One of the dolphins disappeared Tuesday night and was believed to have died.

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The dolphins have been stranded since a deep freeze settled over the region Monday.

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