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Hunting Accident File > Safe Fishing?: > 2003

Fish Drags Angler to Death

7 December 2003

A fisherman was dragged to his death in the Thames by a powerful fish pulling on his line, an inquest has heard.

Stanley King, who was recovering from an operation, got tangled in his line and was pulled into the water at Windsor, Berkshire, after a tug from the 3.5lb barbel. The 60-year-old called for help to his friend John Speer, who was on the riverbank, but he was unable to save him from drowning during the night time fishing trip.

The body of the veteran angler, who had recently had an operation on his stomach, was not found until the next morning on 6 August this year. His friend Mr Speer, 82, has died since the accident, and his son Keith gave evidence at the inquest on his behalf.

Accidental death

Mr Speer told the coroner his father had heard two splashes and then Mr King shouting: "John, John, I've gone in." Mr Speer added: "He had a pull from a barbel, a very strong fish, which caused the rod tripod to fall over and would account for the small splash. His reaction was to grab the new rod with the fish on it." The tug from the fish then made Mr King step onto shingle and slip, the inquest heard.

Mr King's rod and line was later found downstream, with the fish hooked on it.

East Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford recorded a verdict of accidental death at an inquest in Windsor on Thursday.

Only one other angler has drowned on the same stretch of river since 1934, according to the Civil Service Angling Society which owns the fishing rights.

Story from BBC NEWS:

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