Fishy business: The lorry load of mackerel spilled across farmer Gordon Flinn's field
A farmer was understandably left fed up to the gills by the sight of fish after a staggering 20 tonnes of mackerel spilled onto his land from an overturned lorry.
It was travelling towards Ardglass in County Down, Northern Ireland, last week when it appeared to have caught a grass verge, ploughed through 30 yards of hedge and fallen into a field belonging to Gordon Flinn, 71.
A digger and a crane were called in as 12 men worked for seven hours straight in a ‘large scale’ clean-up operation following the accident.
Fin on the ground: The fish measured two-feet deep in places
Mr Flinn, a sheep and cattle farmer, said the fish were piled up to two feet deep in places.
He said: ‘We had a call from the police about 3pm, saying there had been an accident down by my land and that there were fish everywhere.
‘The driver had hit a verge and the fish had come down on the hedge, destroying it and spilling them all into my field.
‘When I got down there I expected to see boxes of fish fingers or something - but there was a 20 tonne silver sea of fish. It was quite a sight.
‘There were thousands of the things all over my land. It was a bit of a shock to say the least.
‘It took them from about 7pm to 2am just to clear it all up. It was about ten metres in diameter - they were all over the place.
Sea of mackerel: It took seven hours to clean the fish up
‘The one really bizarre thing was though, is that there wasn’t a smell of fish. I think there was more than enough to feed the 5,000. We could have fed the 5,000 five thousand times over.
‘I didn’t take some for dinner - I don’t think I could look another fish in the eyes for a long time.’
Gordon’s daughter Louise, a 27-year-old civil servant, who took several incredible images of the fish, added: ‘It was like a catastrophe, as though the fish had fallen out of the sky.
‘We really couldn’t believe it until we saw it. It really was like something out of the Bible.’
Louise- who ironically doesn’t like fish - said that the family was taking it all in their stride, as a bit of fun - although it could have been a very different situation had the driver been hurt.
The man was initially taken to hospital, but seems to have had a lucky escape and later returned to the scene uninjured to drive the digger and help the rescue operation.