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Angler speared by a giant fish
Daily Mail Reporter
9:25am 4th August 2006
When he saw a companion on his boat hook a giant fish during a sea angling contest, Ian Card was delighted.
Next second, the scene of triumph turned to horror - as the 14ft blue marlin leapt out of the water across the vessel and speared Mr Card through the chest with its spiked bill.
The impact of the 800lb fish knocked him overboard into the Atlantic off Bermuda.
Then, with a thrash of its tail and with the 32-year-old still impaled and bleeding profusely, it dragged him underwater.
Terribly injured, he somehow stayed conscious as he struggled to pull himself free of the marlin's 3ft razor-sharp spike before he drowned.
Finally, he wrenched himself away and was rescued by his companions on the boat - who included his 58-year-old father Alan.
Yesterday, he told how his son surfaced with blood pumping from his wound. 'He put his hand up to his chest and his fingers disappeared,' he said. 'He had a wound about as big as your fist.' Mr Card was rushed to hospital, where sur- geons carried out an emergency operation and yesterday he was in a stable condition.
But doctors told him that if the marlin's spike had struck a fraction of an inch higher, it would have severed an artery and killed him.
The bizarre accident happened as he and his father took part in an international fishing tournament 15 miles south of Bermuda.
They were aboard the 42ft yacht Challenger, owned and captained by Mr Card senior, a professional skipper, with his son serving as mate. As the marlin was hooked by angler Leslie Spanswick - who was strapped into a fishing chair at the stern of the boat - Mr Card junior was standing up about 8ft away. 'The fish all of a sudden changed direction and jumped,' said his father.
'It was airborne going across the full width of the boat and Ian just happened to be in the way. All in one motion, the fish flew across the cockpit, impaled him with its bill and took him out of the boat.
'He landed in the water about 15ft away and the marlin was on top of him.
'He was underwater and he had his arms wrapped round the fish and the fish was pushing him under. I lost sight of him for a few seconds. That's a sight I'll never forget. I knew there was no good going to come out of it.'
But Mr Card eventually surfaced 50ft behind the boat. 'Once we got Ian up, I cut the fish loose,' said his father. 'My main concern was not the tournament.'
Family friend Dennis Benevides radioed emergency services and stuffed a towel into the wound to staunch the flow of blood as the vessel sped for the shore.
It reached land 40 minutes later and Mr Card was taken to Bermuda's King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. A 14ft fish would normally take up to two hours to reel in, but the fish leaped at Mr Card after just ten minutes - when it was still fresh and strong.
His mother Elizabeth said: 'He was very lucky - it was a very serious injury. I was very surprised that a fish could make such an injury.'
Tournament organiser Dan Jacobs said: 'Fish have jumped into boats before and people have been hurt dealing with marlin, but it's very unusual for a fish to leap completely out of the water from behind the boat and come right across the boat.
'Ian is very lucky to be alive. I'd say that we have probably witnessed a miracle.'
One lucky man and one luckier Marlin!