A river in Eastern China has reportedly turned dark red, baffling residents and delighting some fishermen.

Residents in Whenzhou, Zhejiang province said the river looked normal at 5 am Thursday morning but was blood red within an hour, as a strange smell began to waft through the air, according to ABC News.

“We suspect that somebody dumped artificial coloring in the water because he thought the typhoon yesterday would cause heavy rain, and nobody would notice,” Jianfeng Xiao, chief of the Wenzhou Environmental Protection Bureau bureau told China News.

“[But] it turned out there wasn’t heavy rainfall yesterday, so the evidence is left behind.”

Factories along the river include some manufacturing clothing, paper and food dye, and the agency has vowed to investigate thoroughly.

But not everyone is upset about the environmental anomaly, according to ABC News. “The really weird thing is that we have been able to catch fish because the water is normally so clear,” a villager commented, apparently unpeturbed by the risk of contamination.

An eerily similar scene from Henan province in 2011. Photo: Getty

The case echoes one in 2011 when photos of the red polluted Jian River in Luoyang, Henan province shocked the world.

The cause of the river's apocalyptic appearance was found to be red dye being dumped into the city's storm water pipe network by two illegal dye workshops.

Authorities at the time said they were working to shut down the workshops, and to disassemble their machinery.

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