A man nearly choked to death after a fish that he was playing with jumped up and got lodged in his throat.

Paramedics arrived at the scene at Boscombe Pier in Bournemouth to find that the 28-year-old's heart had stopped for three minutes as friends desperately attempted to perform CPR.

The man had tried to place the 14cm Dover sole over his mouth but it wriggled free and jumped straight down his throat, the Daily Mirror reported.

He was taken to hospital to receive treatment after paramedics were forced to act fast on the pier.

They used a laryngoscope to extend the mouth to inspect the throat to see the fish trapped inside.

Forceps were then employed to pinch the tail of the fish and slowly pull it out, without it sliding back down further.

A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust explained what had happened. "When crews were called to Boscombe Pier they had no idea what they would find when they got there.

''Their only information was that a man had started choking and had now stopped breathing.

''With the first clinician on scene in less than two minutes, friends directed the crew along the dimly-lit pier, where another friend was already performing CPR, as directed by the calm emergency medical dispatcher on the line from the 999 control room."