Stingray Violently Impaled Woman’s Back At Beach

A Florida woman said she thought she would die after being impaled in the back by a stingray’s venomous tail spine while wading at a beach south of Tampa in Ruskin. 

Stingray Attacks Woman

A sunny day at the beach turned into a week-long hospital stay for an Apollo Beach woman after she was punctured in the back on Tuesday by a stingray’s venomous spine.

Kristie O’Brien was visiting Ruskin’s Bahia Beach with her husband when she decided to cool off and waded into the water, which was only about knee-deep when the barb of a stingray impaled her.

The animal’s barb sank a few inches into Kristie Cataffo-O’Brien’s back, barely missing her lungs.

Cataffo-O’Brien described the pain as excruciating.

When she leaned forward to get out of the water, her husband, back on the beach, was horrified by what he saw: a live stingray hanging by its tail from O’Brien’s back, its venomous spine puncturing her skin to the center of her right shoulder. 

“I felt something sting me right away. I felt like it was a jellyfish maybe or something, but it was super, super painful,” said Cataffo-O’Brien. “I started to stand up, and that’s when he was like, ‘No, don’t move at all, there’s a stingray and it’s on you.’”

“I was trying to stay as calm as I could,” Kristie O’Brien told FOX 13 this week of the incident at Bahia Beach. “But I was certain that I was going to die because, I mean, like everyone has like this picture of Steve Irwin when he literally was punctured in his chest.” 

Irwin was killed by a stingray in 2006 while filming in the Great Barrier Reef. 

O’Brien estimates the barb was more than four inches deep inside her back, missing her lung by mere centimeters. 

Side by side images of Kristie O’Brien’s back with the stingray barb and the barb after it was removed. Image is courtesy of Kristie O’Brien. 

Paramedics freed O’Brien in the water using shears to cut the stingray at the base of its tail. At the hospital, a trauma team carefully removed the spine.

As of Friday, O’Brien was still being treated for poisoning from the stingray’s venom. 

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4 thoughts on “Stingray Violently Impaled Woman’s Back At Beach”
  1. May she be healed in Jesus Name and Thank You God for sparing her life.

    I am so sorry but I am sure there will be a person who was bitten by a shark (or not) Claiming the Ray didnt mean it.

    Allow me, If something Bite You – It Means It – You dont hear people giving a dog, spider, rat or any other living thing a “FREE PASS” to take your limbs or try to kill you.. except for Sharks and Liberals

  2. Lets face it. Earth is a locing planet, often holding us in it’s waterways, as we swim or even wade, as we fly, and drive a car, and just sit out in the sun, or hike. There are some things we do that are common, like wade in the beach at the shore, or hike in a park, and the list goes on. What we all have to realize, the dangers appear when we least exptec them, and some of these dangers are very violent. Often, if we expect to live a relatively free life of activity, we will be confronted by the dangers that lurk also. Just rember it happenes, and sometimes can be avoided and other times it is not avoidable. So we live on Mother Earth, and we take our chances. Here is a historic bit of information that will mark you as the picture of the Sting Ray here.
    Do you know the casue of the one item that caused more death in Floirda during coloniealization than any during that time? Yes the highest cause of death during the time of development and coloniealization of Florida.
    ANSWER: Snake Bites…… The work was primarily outside, and in the fields and the out buildings and waterways. Snakes are at the top, when it comes to stealth, and deadly venom, all incorporated with lightening quick attacks. The percentage of population that are exposed now is much lower vor various reasons, however it will still happen

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