Stingray Kills Boater off Fla. Keys

Creature leaps onto the deck in freak accident
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2008 2:54 PM CDT
A squadron of spotted eagle rays swim together in this undated file photo.   ((c) The Lilac Breasted Roller)
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(Newser) – A stingray leapt out of the water and struck a 55-year-old Michigan woman who was sunbathing on the deck of a boat off the Florida Keys yesterday, CNN reports. The woman, who was with her husband and children, was knocked to the ground and pronounced dead at a local hospital. No word on the specific cause of death yet, but local reports say she was impaled through the neck by the 75 lb. ray's barb.

"It's just as freakish of an accident as I have heard," said a Florida Fish and Wildlife official, who said he’d seen rays leap out of the water, but "it's very rare for them to collide with objects." The spotted eagle ray, known for its leopard-like spots, can grow to 16 feet long (including tail) and weigh up to 500 lbs. The rays swim near the surface of the water and jump when pursued, but are said to be shy of humans.