A man has been reliving the moment he almost died after a 14cm fish jumped down his throat and stopped him breathing.

Sam Quilliam, 28, went into cardiac arrest after the Dover sole, which he had just caught, jumped into his mouth while he was fishing with friends on Boscombe pier in Dorset on 5 October.

Returning to the scene, Mr Quilliam explained he was trying to "kiss the fish" – an angling tradition to thank the catch before throwing it back, when his plan backfired.

The angler, who has made a full recovery, suffering no ill effects, told Sky News he "unhooked it, picked it up off the floor and went to give it a kiss before I threw it back."

"Imagine you squeeze a bar of soap, or a tube of toothpaste, and basically it jumped out of my hand, into my mouth and swam straight down my throat," he said.

"It was literally a split second it had happened and I was completely choked out."

Paramedic Matt Harrison, of the South West Ambulance Service (SWAS), who arrived within minutes to find his friends giving Mr Quilliam CPR after he had collapsed and stopped breathing.

He admitted he struggled to grasp what had happened.

"We didn’t really know the size of the fish we were aiming to retrieve. Although they were saying ‘he swallowed a fish, he swallowed a fish’, when you’re actually hearing that and trying to absorb that and looking at the person on the floor, it seems almost unbelievable," he said.

The paramedics managed to restore his pulse after discovering his heart had stopped, but despite using artificial ventilation could not get oxygen into his lungs.

Realising time was very short, Mr Harrison used a laryngoscope to fully extend the mouth and a pair of forceps to "dislodge the tip of the tail".

"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," explained Mr Harrison.

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

Sam, who admits he has little memory of the incident and feels lucky to be alive, suffered no lasting effects and has made a full recovery.

"I have never attended a more bizarre incident and don’t think I ever will," Mr Harrison said.

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(c) Sky News 2017: Sam Quilliam was kissing fish that blocked his throat, causing his heart to stop