Oarfish washes ashore sparking fears of impending disaster

A rare Oarfish was found washed up on a beach - sparking fears of an impending disaster.

The 14ft long creature was seen by concerned locals on the sand in Surigao del Norte, the Philippines, on March 3.

Locals took the oarfish from the Punta Beach in the town of Tinago, Malimono, to be treated but it later died.

Residents worry that the oarfish is a sign of an impending earthquake, but local authorities said that the belief is baseless.

Oarfishes are the longest bony fish alive. They can grow up to 56ft long (17 metres) and normally lurk in depths of 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) so they are rarely seen.

Japanese folklore suggests that oarfish are messengers from the sea god's palace that can herald either a great catch or a disaster.

In recent years, the long, serpent-like silver oarfish have signalled imminent major earthquakes when they have emerged from the depths.

Around a dozen of the rarely-seen fish were found washed ashore in Japan in late 2009 and 2010 shortly before the Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011killed more than 19,000 people and caused meltdowns at three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.