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Bercy back in the swim after crash

Leicester Mercury story, 5 February 2004

Bercy the goldfish cheated death after being flung 15 feet from a car in a motorway crash.

Incredibly, his owner, Sophia Underhill, escaped with just cuts and bruises when her Fiat Seicento rolled over three times and smashed into the M1's central reservation. 

That was nothing compared to pet goldfish Bercy's escape, though.

Bercy's tank, which was on the passenger seat, tipped over and the little fish was catapulted through a broken window and into the air.

He landed on the carriageway amid shattered glass and debris, and remained there for 15 minutes until finally being spotted by police.

Paramedics then put him into some water and were amazed as he immediately began to swim around.

Sophia, 23, of Evington, suffered minor cuts to her arms and legs in the crash, while Bercy escaped with a few small scars.

University of Leicester student Sophia said: "I lost control of the car due to a flat tyre and it rolled over three times. It was a miracle no other cars crashed into us.

"When I was pulled out of the car, the first thing I said was 'I have killed my fish'. I think that's quite embarrassing now, but the whole thing was surreal at the time.

"It's amazing how Bercy was still alive after all that. He's swimming about as normal in his new tank. Hopefully he'll have forgotten about it by now because goldfish are supposed to have an extremely short memory, but it's something I'll never forget."

The crash happened on the northbound carriageway of the motorway, near to Lutterworth, on Sunday at about 1.30pm.

Geography student Sophia was returning to Leicester with four-year-old Bercy after visiting her family in London.

A Leicestershire police spokeswoman said that officers launched a hunt for the pet after arriving at the scene to find the car sodden with water and littered in coloured gravel.

She said: "Pc Michael Hinton and Pc Patricia Draycott, who were sweeping up glass from the carriageway, found a small goldfish in the middle of lane three.

"Things didn't look good for Bercy as about 15 minutes had passed since the accident and the fish had obviously been thrown from the vehicle, but amazingly, Bercy started to swim around as soon as he was put in the water."

Sergeant Mark Watling said: "We have to be ready to deal with all sorts of things in the police, but I have to say that this was a first for me."

Tim Smith

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Last updated: 5 February 2004 15:00
Created by: Barbara Whiteman

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