Stingray leaps into boat, stabs man in chest

POSTED: 10:33 a.m. EDT, October 19, 2006

MIAMI, Florida (Reuters) – A leaping stingray stabbed an 81-year-old Florida boater in the chest, authorities said Wednesday, leaving its poisonous stinger lodged close to his heart in an incident recalling the one that killed Australian TV naturalist Steve Irwin last month.

Fire Department officials in Lighthouse Point, about 30 miles north of Miami, said James Bertakis was in a small recreational boat with two grandchildren Tuesday when the spotted eagle ray leaped aboard and struck him.

“It’s just a real freak thing,” Lt. Mike Sullivan told Reuters, saying the incident occurred on Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, where stingrays are rarely seen leaping in the air. (Watch to see the speckled creature’s face, stringy tail and what’s happened to the victim-- 1:25)

“For an 81-year-old man he’s in really good shape,” Sullivan added, saying Bertakis was expected to make a full recovery after surgery at a local hospital to have the stinger removed from his chest.

“Crocodile Hunter” Irwin, 44, died when a stingray’s stinger punctured his heart off Australia’s north coast last month. It was one of only a handful of stingray fatalities on record. … index.html

Man in critical condition after stingray attack in boat

Story Highlights

NEW: Doctors removed stingray barb by pulling it through victim’s heart
81-year-old stingray victim in critical condition
Stingray flopped into man’s boat and stabbed him with venomous barb
Scientists say this behavior extremely unusual for stingrays

LIGHTHOUSE POINT, Florida (AP) – An 81-year-old man was in critical condition Thursday after a stingray flopped onto his boat and stung him, leaving a foot-long barb in his chest in an accident similar to the one that killed “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin.

“It was a freak accident,” said Lighthouse Point acting fire Chief David Donzella. “It’s very odd that the thing jumped out of the water and stung him. We still can’t believe it.”

Fatal stingray attacks like the one that killed Irwin last month at the Great Barrier Reef are rare, marine experts say. Rays reflexively deploy a sharp spine in their tails when frightened, but the venom coating the barb usually causes just a painful sting for humans.

James Bertakis of Lighthouse Point was on the water with his granddaughter and a friend Wednesday when a stingray flopped onto the boat and stung Bertakis. The women steered the boat to shore and called 911.

Doctors were able to remove the barb during surgeries Wednesday and Thursday by eventually pulling it through his heart and closing the wound, said Dr. Eugene Costantini at Broward General Medical Center.

He said Bertakis’ case was different from Irwin’s because the barb stayed in Bertakis’ heart and was not pulled out. Videotape of Irwin’s last moments shows him pulling the barb from his chest. (Watch the surgeon’s demo of what happened to Bertakis’ heart and why the barb went deeper – 12:03)

Bertakis was apparently trying to remove the three-foot-wide spotted eagle ray from the boat when he was stung, police Cmdr. Mike Oh said.

Ellen Pikitch, a professor of marine biology and fisheries at the University of Miami, who has been studying stingrays for decades, said they are generally docile.

“Something like this is really, really extraordinarily rare,” she said. “Even when they are under duress, they don’t usually attack.”

Attack of the mutant stingrays! Runnn!!

Are they evolving to fly too?

Wow wow! Looks like string rays are chest stabbers!

Revolution !!!

I think the Stingrays have their own communications network of some sort: -

The one who stabbed Steve Irwin sent out an email, “hey guys, if you want to take those humans out, go for the chest, slightly to the left! it works! forward this mail to 10 other stingray or you will drown”

The one who stabbed Steve Irwin sent out an email, “hey guys, if you want to take those humans out, go for the chest, slightly to the left! it works! forward this mail to 10 other stingray or you will drown”

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Better start forwarding chain mail for ourselves too…

Guess his one miss the spot a little…haha…

Next time wear chest plate to sea :smiley:

What’s next? Suicide by stingray sting?

Yea, and dick protector… :slight_smile: