Last week, a 42-year-old Australian man was swimming at a popular beach in the state of Tasmania. He died after a suspected attack from a stingray on a beach that was well known by locals for its populations of stingrays and skates,
The man received emergency medical treatment when he was found to have a “puncture wound to his lower abdomen,” after swimming alone off the shore of Lauderdale Beach.
His friends pulled him ashore and called an ambulance, but the attempt to resuscitate him on the scene was unsuccessful.
What Can We Learn?
This is not the first Australian to be killed by a stingray. Perhaps the most well-known stingray death was Steve Irwin, also known as the “Crocodile Hunter”.
Irwin died at 44, after being pierced in the heart by a stingray barb while filming an underwater documentary film titled Ocean’s Deadliest.
I actually studied Oceanography for 3 years at University and although much of my learnings seemed to be related to hydrothermal vents which a human wouldn’t want to get anywhere near, my studies did give me a healthy respect for the sea.
The oceans remain wild and full of wild animals, particularly in more tropical locations and particularly around Australia. I am very much of the opinion that the pain has to be worth the gain.
Yes, stingrays rarely attack but what if you accidentally step on one, and it stings you. Was it worth the swim?
We can each evaluate what risks we are prepared to take. My husband won’t swim in the sea. I swim in the sea around Europe and Hawaii and shuffle my feet in the sand while on the beach, to scare off stingrays and similar wildlife.
My husband, of course, had the last laugh last summer when I swam on Cote d’Azur only to notice numerous small jellyfish moments after stepping out of the water. I wasn’t stung, but one poor little girl on the beach was. She had stings all up her leg. Was it worth it? Probably not. Next time I will stick to the pool!
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