Unsuspecting fishermen accidentally caught this enormous 20ft manta ray while trawling off the coast of Peru.
The 1,000 kg giant, which is strictly protected in international waters, swam into the fishermen’s net as they trawled for fish in a homemade wooden boat off Caleta La Cruz in north-western Peru.
Fisherman Franco Vergara, 39, said, "We were taken completely by surprise when we felt the whole boat shudder and lurch.
"We looked over the side and saw this enormous creature below us. I had never seen a manta ray live before and it took a couple of seconds to realize what it was."
"Sadly, it was badly injured and I suspect it had been hit by a boat propeller," he added. "We towed it ashore and then called the local authorities."
When seaport authorities and animal environmental officers arrived they needed a crane to lift the gigantic ray out of the water, where it was snapped by tourist Kelly Cruz Cumpen, 25, who posted it onto social media.
She said, "I have never seen anything as big as this.
When they pulled it out of the water it was dripping with blood. It was very sad to see. It is such a beautiful creature."
In ancient Peru, the manta ray was often depicted in art where they were feared because of their size.
Sailors believed they ate fish and sank boats and it was not until the late 1970s that perceptions began to change when it was realised that they were placid and harmless to humans.
The largest manta ray ever recorded was the Atlantic ray, with a span of 30 ft.