Rare 9ft ‘harbinger of doom’ fish is caught sparking fears of an impending disaster

The terrifying oarfish is rarely seen by human eyes and the appearance of two ‘harbingers of doom’ off Thailand’s coast this year sparked disaster fears (Picture: Jam Press)

Fishermen found a rare 9ft oarfish – considered a ‘harbinger of doom’ – that will now be heading to a museum, sparking even more fears from locals.

This is believed to be the second sighting of the so-called ‘earthquake fish’ on Thailand’s Andaman coast so far this year.

The first sparked fears of an impending earthquake or tsunami.

Oarfish, which live in the depths of the world’s oceans, are a rare sight for humans.

Scaleless and slimy, they can grow up to 17 metres long and weigh 199kg.

This is the second oarfish to appear on Thailand’s Andaman coast so far in 2024 (Picture: Jam Press)
Oarfish live up to 1000 metres below sea level and only rise to the surface when they’re dying or currents change (Picture: Jam Press)

Their serpent-like bodies are built to survive the weight of water up to 1,000 meters below the ocean’s surface. This means they tend to quickly die if they do rise to shallow waters and their bodies expand due to depressurisation.

In Japanese mythology, the sea creatures – sometimes called ‘earthquake fish’ – are considered a ‘harbinger of doom’, appearing soon before natural disasters or sickness strike.

Six of the deep sea creatures were spotted days before a deadly earthquake killed six people and injured more than 120 in southern Philippines in 2017.

This particular 9ft 4in oarfish, weighing 8.6kg, was hauled aboard a fishing vessel in the Andaman Sea, roughly eight nautical miles from Phuket, Thailand.

Not yet finished at sea, the crew passed the body to another boat returning to the pier in Thai Mueang.

The ugly looking fish is said to appear before natural disasters and caused panic on the island after being found by fishermen(Picture: Jam Press)
(Picture: Jam Press)

Regional fisheries chief Sitthiphol Muangsong inspected the creature along with officials from the Phuket Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Centre.

The carcass was found to be in good condition, apart from a small wound to its head, according to authorities.

Experts will also analyse the body of another dead oarfish found off Satun Province, further south on Thailand’s Andaman coast, on January 4 this year.

Both will be displayed in the local museum once officials have completed their research.

The January 4 discovery sparked fears of an impending disaster among those who believe the oarfish to be an omen of misfortune.

One resident in the area where it was found said: ‘If encountering an oarfish in the vicinity of Satun, it may indicate a potential concern for an earthquake along the Andaman coast.

‘And there could be a tsunami as well.’

Jetsada Denduangboripant, a biology professor at the country’s Chulalongkorn University, suggested their appearance was likely linked to illness or changing currents, not seismic activity.

The professor said: ‘The discovery of this Oarfish does not predict earthquakes or tsunamis, it’s just a belief.

‘In reality, they mostly surface because they are ill or close to death.’

These oarfish aren’t the only strange beasts hiding in the oceans.

Experts struggled to identify gruesome orange remains that washed up on a beach in the far northeast of Scotland roughly 10 miles away from John O’Groats in November 2023.

A monstrous fish with a horrifying sex life and teeth like shards of glass washed up near Laguna Beach in LA last October.

The Pacific football fish, a type of anglerfish known for a bioluminescent stalk dangling from its forehead, is usually found 3,000ft below the surface of the sea.

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