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Residents of a remote outback community have been left marvelling at the heavens as fish “rained from the sky” in a surprising, but not unheard of, weather event.
This phenomenon has been documented at least four times in the past, according to ABC News.
“It was the most amazing thing we’ve ever seen,” said Lajamanu local and Central Desert councillor Andrew Johnson Japanangka. He said the fish were still alive as they fell from the sky, and children in the town rushed to collect them and keep them in jars.
Japanangka has witnessed deluges of fish in the past as well, but he says the phenomenon never fails to amaze him.
Fish rain last occurred more than a decade ago in Lajamanu, a remote town in Australia. The phenomenon was recorded in 2010, and before that in 2004 and 1974. Possibly the first time it happened was more than 40 years ago – Penny McDonald told ABC News that it was in the mid-1980s that fish rained down from the sky.
“I got up in the morning, I was working in the school at the time, and the dirt streets outside my home were covered in fish,” she said.
Meterologists believe that fish get sucked up by strong updrafts, like tornadoes, which dump them hundreds of kilometres away. This is likely what is happening in Lajamanu.
Michael Hammer, Curator of Fishes at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, said he has investigated similar incidents in the past. He added that it’s “not unusual” for fish to rain down alive.
Queensland Museum ichthyologist Jeff Johnson said it is rare for large fish, like the kind that fell on Lajamanu, to fall down from the sky. Johnson identified the fish as spangled perch, or spangled grunters, which is among the most common freshwater fish of Australia.