300-Pound Ray Slams Woman in Boat

Fla. tourist survives bodyslam without a scratch
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2011 8:06 AM CDT

An Illinois woman ended up a lot closer to nature than planned during a sightseeing trip in the Florida Keys when an eagle ray leaped right into her tour boat, pinning her to the floor. "It happened so fast, in a split second," Jenny Hausch, who had been taking photos of the ray moments earlier, tells the Keynoter. "It hit me in the chest and knocked me back." Hausch managed to free herself, and wildlife officers who heard screams arrived soon afterward.

Eagle rays can weigh up to 500 pounds; Hausch believes this one weighed at least 300. The wildlife officers managed to get the ray back into the water and it swam off. "The Florida officers did a great job," says Hausch, who escaped with no injuries apart from a sore leg. "We didn't want the ray hurt, it's such a pretty animal. We just didn't want to see it in the boat with us." The family has a souvenir of the incident: a tail barb that the ray left behind. Another Florida boater was killed in 2008 when an eagle ray landed in her boat; click here for that story. (More spotted eagle ray stories.)

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