New Zealand angler reels in human foot


Mar 11, 2001
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Angler snags human foot

17 December 2003

Long-time Ashburton angler Paul Demouth thought he had a body on the line when his hook snagged in South Canterbury on Monday afternoon.

At his feet, cut clean through the bone, was a human foot, its toenails missing.

"I thought when the line snagged it was a body. I didn't want that."

But the line came away, leaving Mr Demouth and fishing pal Eddie Ward wondering what to do about the foot.

"At first I thought it was a hand. I touched it with my shoe and it stood on its sole. It was a foot."

Mr Demouth said he didn't at first know what to do. There was virtually no mobile phone coverage where they were – near the Rangitata river mouth, between Ashburton and Timaru – so he and Mr Ward decided to continue fishing.

About 30 minutes after finding the foot, and catching nothing but a branch, the anglers stopped several people passing on motorcycles.

"When they saw the foot they took off."

Soon after, the camp manager from Rangitata arrived, saying he had heard about the foot, and he called the police.

Late yesterday, Ashburton Detective Paul Hayden delivered the foot to a Christchurch pathologist for examination.

Mr Demouth said he was no expert, but he was sure the foot had been in the water for a few days at most.

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