I'm going to leave this woman's name out of the article. When I'm inevitably killed by a flying sea creature I won't want my name on the news...
A woman was sitting in the front seat of a boat going 25 mph when the spotted eagle ray, with a wingspan of 5 to 6 feet, leaped out of the water, said Jorge Pino, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The collision knocked the woman backward onto the floor of the boat. The impact likely killed her, and she did not appear to have puncture wounds from the ray's barb, Pino said.
The stingray landed in the 25-foot boat and died from the impact, officials said.
Spotted eagle rays can weigh 500 pounds and have a wingspan of up to 10 feet. They are known to occasionally jump out of the water but are not aggressive and use the venomous barb at the end of their tail for defense.
"Rays jump to escape a predator, give birth and shake off parasites," said Lynn Gear, supervisor of fishes and reptiles at Theater of the Sea in Islamorada. "They do not attack people."
In 2006, a South Florida man was also critically injured when a stingray flopped into his boat and stung him. James Bertakis, 82, of Lighthouse Point, underwent surgery because the stingray left a foot-long barb in his heart. He has since recovered.
This kinda makes him the luckiest and the most unluckiest guy around. Imagine at 82 being able to survive a foot-long poison barb to the heart.
If we add what's happened to my beloved Steve Irwin, I think it might be time to sit down with the leader of the stingrays and negotiate for peace. I'm afraid something has gone wrong between us.
Actually I think they are each freak accidents where the stingray panicked (Irwin) or happened to leap with bad timing. But, geez, what incredible and scary aim they have straight for the heart, establishing a scary reputation for such a peaceful and lovely creature.