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Jennifer Hausch, of Crystal Lake, Hit By 200-LB Spotted Eagle Ray in Florida Keys

Wed March 30 2011 1:04 pm
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A 200-300-pound giant spotted eagle ray takes flight from the water in Florida, coming on board a boat, hitting a woman from Illinois. She was knocked back to the deck, but the ray was eventually returned to the water.

Last Friday Jennifer and David Hausch, of Crystal Lake, were riding on an eco-tour boat ride by Two Chicks Charters during a Florida vacation when a huge Spotted Eagle Ray jumped into their tour boat off the coast of Islamorada. The Eagle Ray struck Jennifer Hausch in the chest, but fortunately did not injure her.

The 200-300 pound spotted eagle ray struck her in the chest, knocked her down and trapped her by weight onto the boat deck. She was shaken, but not injured, according to The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation team that helped her. Kelly Klein, the owner of Two Chicks Charter, said the 10-foot-long ray landed on top of Jennifer Hausch and trapped her until authorities arrived and rescued her. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation team arrived within minutes.

In March, 2008 a woman from Michigan, Judy Kay Zagorski, was killed by a similar collision near Marathon, Florida. Judy Kay Zagorski, of Pigeon, Michigan, was sitting in the front seat of a boat traveling at 25 mph when a spotted eagle ray with a wingspan of 5’6″, leaped out of the water.

On a Thursday, March 20, 2008, a 75-pound spotted eagle ray jumped from the water in the Florida Keys, and struck a woman in the face while she was riding in a boat traveling 25 mph. Both the woman and the stingray died from the impact.

Wildlife officials say stingrays do leap from the water and have a poisonous barb, but do not attack people. The rays eat bivalves, shrimps, crabs, and whelks. Eagle Rays are common in the waters off South Florida and the Keys — and also the entire Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, Atlantic Africa, the Indian Ocean, Oceania, and the Pacific west coast.

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