A Queensland man is recovering after his holiday came to an abrupt end after he accidentally stood on a stingray.
School teacher Liam Richards was enjoying the tropical waters of Far North Queensland last month, when he came into contact with the large, hidden fish lying in shallow water on a Cape York beach.
While they both received a fright, unfortunately for Mr Richards it was he who came out of the encounter second best.
Photos shared to social media by Queensland Ambulance Service on Wednesday show the massive stingray barb still lodged in the man’s leg.
The serrated object caused him excruciating soreness as its toxins entered his system.
Mr Richards described the pain as “a solid 10” in an interview with Cape York Weekly.
“I probably wasn’t thinking the worst; maybe because I could see the barb coming out the other side,” he told the publication.
“The pain was the worst. The walk to the car was about the hardest thing.”
Queensland Ambulance said they met Mr Richards en route to Bamaga Hospital, and then transported him the rest of the way where medical staff provided treatment to counter the effect of the toxin.
His legs were placed inside buckets filled with hot water to treat the intense pain caused by the stingray’s defence mechanism.
With his pain under control, Mr Richards was then flown to Cairns for surgery, and he’s now on the road to recovery at home.
‘Sorry to the stingray’ says victim
Queensland Ambulance Service advise that people create noise or vibrations to warn stingrays of their presence.
Apologising to the stingray on social media, Mr Richards suggested that he’s learned that “shuffling” rather than “stomping” in the water is the best way to avoid injury.
“Sorry to the stingray,” he wrote.
“And I would say definitely don’t stomp... shuffle is the option.
“I stomped and landed smack bang on top of it. If I was shuffling I dare say I would have had a fright but not a barb through my achilles.”
While normally placid, stingrays will defend themselves when threatened by large carnivorous fish like sharks, or stood on by humans.
Symptoms from the barb’s toxin can include nausea, heart arrhythmia and vomiting, and on rare occasions their attacks can be fatal.
Knowledge of the danger that stingrays pose stretches back thousands of years.
In Greek mythology, legendary hero Odysseus was accidentally killed after being pierced by a spear tipped with a toxic barb by his son Telegonus.
More recently, television personality Steve Irwin was tragically killed in 2006 by a stingray after being stung in the heart on the Great Barrier Reef while filming a show.
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