Woman dies after freak encounter with ray
Marathon Fla. (WSVN) -- A freak encounter with an eagle ray has taken the life of a boater.
According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the unidentified 55-year-old woman died after the large spotted eagle ray struck her, as it jumped out of the water before 10 a.m. Thursday.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Officer Jorge Pino said his department is trying to figure out what exactly happened. "We don't know if she, the victim in this case, collided with the stingray or she became startled when the stingray actually ended up in the vessel," said Pino. "But somehow she ended up dying as a result of the interaction she had with this particular stingray."
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office received the call of a woman who was injured after the ray jumped from the water and hit her in the face. Pino said that even though eagle rays are known to jump out of the water, this is a particularly strange case because the boat was in motion when the ray jumped in. "It's an unusual occurrence," he said. "It's actually uncommon that they collide with a vessel. It's not a regular thing that it occurs. We're actually astonished that this happened. Our thoughts are with the family."
The woman was visiting from Michigan and was on a boat with her family. It remains unclear if she was hit with the barb from the animal.
Her body was transported to Mariner's Hospital, where authorities hope to gain more insight into how the woman died.
Last year, famed naturalist Steve Irwin died of when a stingray's barb stabbed him through his heart while filming a documentary. On Oct. 26, an elderly man actually survived a similar hit from a stingray at Lighthouse Point after spending weeks in the hospital.