A teenage angler is lucky to be alive after he almost died in a freak accident when he was speared in the chest – by his own FISHING FLOAT.
Tom Mitchenall, 17, had hooked a large carp and was playing the heavy fish when the line snapped sending the slender plastic float at him like a mini-javelin.
Incredibly, the 8.5in (22cm) long plastic dart pierced Tom’s chest and embedded itself in his lung – missing his main artery by just 1in (2.5cm).
Tom had to be rushed to hospital where surgeons removed the float from his chest and drained the fluid on his lung.
Lucky Tom said: ”It was scary as hell. I felt like I’d been shot with a crossbow. At one point I thought I was going to die.
”If the float had hit me a couple of centimetres to the right it would have pierced an artery and I’d have had it.”
Tom was just 15 minutes into a pole fishing competition at Whitehall Angling Club in Rushwick, Worcs.,when he struck into a large common carp.
He played the fish for a few moments before it ‘broke’ him – snapping the elastic connecting the float to the line.
The recoiling float shot 18ft out of the water straight back at Tom and pierced through Tom’s football shirt before embedding itself in his right lung.
He said: ”I was hoping to land some big carp and the conditions were perfect when I felt a fish on the end.
”I started playing the fish to tire it out because it was a big one but it shot off to the other side of the pool.
”The hook pulled out and the float catapulted out and hit me straight in the chest. At first I didn’t realise what had happened and started looking behind me for the float.
”It’s only when I looked down and saw it sticking out of my chest and at the patch of blood spreading over my shirt that I knew the float had hit me.
”I tried to pull it out but the end snapped off and about three-and-a-half inches stayed in me.
”I began struggling for breath and could hear bubbling which was the air rushing out my lungs where the float had pierced it.”
Tom’s dad Graham, 54, drove his son to Worcestershire Royal Hospital where he had three x-rays and a CT scan.
Surgeons spent an hour removing the float which was embedded in his chest before they drained the fluid from his lung.
Graham, also a keen fisherman, said: ”I have never known anything like it before. It’s just a freak accident.
”Pole fishing is a specialised form of float fishing, where a light, long pole is extended in sections instead of using a traditional fishing rod.
”The accident happened when the fish took the bait which is attached to elastic and a float then rebounded out of the water and hit Tom in the chest.”
Tom, who hopes to join the RAF next year, stayed in hospital for four days before he was allowed back home.
Tom, from Worcester, said: ”It was a strange thing to happen but it hasn’t put me off fishing.
”I’ll be back out there on Sunday – my dad reckons I should wear body armour but I’ll take my chances.”