A woman trying to enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the ocean off Florida was impaled by a poisonous stingray whose barb came centimeters away from piercing her lungs.
Kristie Cataffo-O’Brien, of Tampa, and her husband visited Bahia Beach in Ruskin on Tuesday for a bite to eat before taking a dip in the water.
While relaxing in knee-deep water, she suddenly felt the ray’s barbed stinger stab her in the back, she told WFLA.“I felt something sting me right away.
I felt like it was a jellyfish maybe or something, but it was super, super painful,” Cataffo-O’Brien told the outlet.
“I started to stand up, and that’s when [her husband] was like, ‘No, don’t move at all, there’s a stingray and it’s on you.’”
Her husband tried to hold her and the stingray steady as it thrashed around — painfully digging the barb deeper into her body.
“The stingray was moving and flopping around and anytime there was a wave, or anything moved, I could feel the barb just driving into my back,” she said.
The couple called 911, but said it took responders 45 minutes to arrive. She was rushed to the hospital where the barb was surgically removed.
The venomous spike missed puncturing her lungs by just three centimeters, she said.
Cataffo-O’Brien is now recovering and taking medication to combat the venom and any potential infections.
“We’re kind of at the mercy of the marine life,” she admitted.. “This is their territory, it’s not our territory. I lived in Florida for a very long time. You never think anything like that can happen, and I’m still in shock.”