A man's heart stopped after he accidentally swallowed a 14-centimetre long Dover sole on a fishing trip.

The casualty, 28, went into cardiac arrest on October 5 after the fish leapt into his mouth, completely blocking his throat. However, paramedics were able to clear his airway after drawing the sole free in their desperate bid to save the man's life.

Emergency services were called to reports that a man had stopped breathing at Boscombe pier.

South Western Ambulance Service clinician, Matt Harrison, was on the scene in less than two minutes.

Crews were directed along the dimly-lit pier to discover a friend of the casualty was already performing CPR.

Mr Harrison quickly discovered the casualty had a blocked airway and was going into cardiac arrest. Questioning the man's friends further, the paramedic discovered the man had jokingly placed a fish he had just caught over his mouth.

The sole had wriggled free and jumped into the patient's throat, causing a complete obstruction.

Operations officer Martyn Box also attended the incident.

He said: “The boys 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."

As the patient’s heart had already stopped, paramedics continued CPR.

He was then artificially ventilated with a bag and mask, but his airway remained blocked and he wasn't receiving any oxygen.

The man began to deteriorate.

Mr Harrison said: "It was clear that we needed to get the fish out or this patient was not going to survive the short journey to the 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 a McGills 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."

After six attempts, the fish finally came out in one piece. To paramedic's amazement, it was a whole Dover sole, measuring some 14cm.

Mr Harrison said: “I have never attended a more bizarre incident and don’t think I ever will – but we’re 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."

After the patient arrived at hospital, he was able to respond to some questions, and has since made a full recovery.