Eagle Ray Pins Woman In Boat - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Eagle Ray Pins Woman In Boat

Miami (CNN) -- A huge eagle ray weighing as much as 300 pounds landed on top of a woman on a boat in the Florida Keys last week, throwing her to the deck and pinning her underneath it, the captain of the boat told CNN.

The woman, Jenny Hausch, was on the chartered boat Friday with her husband and three children, taking pictures of a group of eagle rays as they flew out of the water.

"These eagle rays, they were flying through the air," said Kelly Klein of Two Chicks Charters. "These giant things go out of the water and slam back down."

Hausch was in the front of the boat, snapping away, Klein said.

"One of the rays jumped in the air and she gets this perfect shot," the captain said, adding that rays always jump twice.

On the second jump, one ray hit her in the chest and she fell down, hitting her head, Klein said.

"It keeps slamming and slamming on top of her, trying to swim away," she said.

Hausch's husband and children watched in horror.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Officers Aja Vickers and Bret Swensson were patrolling the water near the tour boat when they heard screams.

"We turned around and looked and saw the eagle ray thrashing around in the boat and at that point we realized we had a problem," said Vickers.

As the officers made their way to the boat, Vickers said, "shoes were getting thrown off the boat, towels were going everywhere."

By the time officers made it to the boat Hausch had freed herself from under the ray.

Klein said the animal measured 8-feet across, and probably weighed a good 300 pounds.

"It's just massive, it has a 10-foot tail," she added.

Klein said everyone thought that Hausch was dead, but when she was freed she didn't have a scratch on her. The children were hysterical, Klein said, but Hausch and her husband decided to continue the charter in hopes that the incident wouldn't make them afraid of the water.

Eagle rays can measure as much as 10 feet across and 17 feet long -- from their snout to the end of their barbed tails -- and weigh up to 500 pounds, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.

In 2008, a woman died from the impact when a ray jumped out of the water and hit her as she boated in the Keys, but Vickers said both incidents were freak accidents.

"This is a total one-in-a-million chance," she said. "These animals aren't attacking by any means. One theory is these animals jump during mating season."

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