“I picked it up and went to give it a kiss before I threw it back,” Quilliam said of the early October incident. “I squeezed it and like a bar of soap it jumped out of my hand and into my mouth. It got out of my hands and into my mouth and basically swam straight down my throat.”
He said he then ran around like a “headless chicken” before collapsing and stopping breathing. Two of his friends performed CPR and called an ambulance. Paramedics tried to revive him but his airway was completely blocked. “It was clear that we needed to get the fish out or this patient was not going to survive the short journey [to the hospital],” one of the paramedics said.
They used forceps to remove the fish, well aware that if the tail broke off it would be impossible to unblock Quilliam’s airway. To add to the emergency, the sole’s barbs and gills were getting stuck in his throat. The fish finally slid out after six tries and Quilliam suffered no permanent effects. The paramedics said it was the most bizarre incident they’ve encountered and probably would be for the rest of their careers.
Quilliam isn’t quitting, though. As soon as he’s fully recovered, he plans to fish again–presumably without kissing his catch.