The sole sur­vivor: fish­er­man who al­most had his chips

An­gler ‘kisses’ catch for snap but al­most dies after it jumps down his throat

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Ni­cola Har­ley

A FISH­ER­MAN who posed with his catch nearly died after the 6in Dover sole jumped down his throat, suf­fo­cat­ing him.

The man was jok­ingly pre­tend­ing to kiss it when it wig­gled free and leapt into his mouth.

The 28-year-old stopped breath­ing for three min­utes after the fish slipped straight down his throat.

The un­named fish­er­man had just reeled in the catch and was show­ing it off to friends when he lost his grip of the flat fish.

It caused a com­plete ob­struc­tion of the man’s air­ways and his face turned blue.

His shocked friends called 999 and tried to give him CPR while paramedics dashed to the scene on Boscombe pier in Bournemouth.

They ar­rived two min­utes later but by that time the man had gone into car­diac ar­rest and had stopped breath­ing.

Paramedics used for­ceps to grab hold of the fish’s tail but it took six at­tempts to pull the fish free as its barb and gills had be­come stuck in the an­gler’s throat.

Matt Har­ri­son, one of the paramedics, said that when they ques­tioned the man’s friends, they ex­plained he had been jok­ing around with the catch and put it over his mouth.

He said that at that mo­ment the fish wig­gled free, promptly jump­ing straight down the pa­tient’s throat.

“It was clear that we needed to get the fish out or this pa­tient was not go­ing to sur­vive the short jour­ney to Royal Bournemouth Hos­pi­tal.

“I used a laryn­go­scope to fully ex­tend the mouth and throat and saw what ap­peared like an al­tered colour of tis­sue in his throat.

“Us­ing for­ceps, I was able to even­tu­ally dis­lodge the tip of the tail and very care­fully, so as not to break the tail off, I tried to re­move it – although the fish’s barbs and gills were get­ting stuck on the way back up.

“I was acutely aware that I only had one at­tempt at get­ting this right as if I lost grip or a piece broke off and it slid fur­ther out of sight then there was noth­ing more that we could have done to re­trieve the ob­struc­tion.

“Even­tu­ally, after six at­tempts, the fish came out in one piece and to our amaze­ment it was a whole Dover sole, mea­sur­ing about 14cm in length.”

He added: “I have never at­tended a more bizarre in­ci­dent and don’t think I ever will. We are all so glad the pa­tient has no last­ing ef­fects from his car­diac ar­rest, which could so eas­ily have had such a tragic and dev­as­tat­ing out­come.”

Mar­tyn Box, the op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer who also at­tended the in­ci­dent, said: “The boys [the man’s friends] were giv­ing really good CPR on our ar­rival as in­structed by the con­trol room staff.

“Ini­tially, we didn’t know the true ex­tent of the sit­u­a­tion or what the pa­tient was chok­ing on, but as we ques­tioned them fur­ther we were told he had a whole fish stuck in his wind­pipe.”

Mr Box added: “This story just high­lights how im­por­tant it is for friends or by­standers to step in and start CPR when some­one’s heart has stopped.”

The fish did not sur­vive.

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