Shown here, a spotted eagle ray that jumped into a pleasure boat stinging one of the occupants in Lighthouse Point, Fla., in October 2006. Officials say a 55-year old woman has died Thursday, March 20, 2008 after an eagle ray jumped out of the water and struck her in the upper body in the Florida Keys. (AP/Miami Herald, Candace West)
CBS/AP) Officials say a Michigan woman died after a spotted eagle ray jumped out of the water and struck her in the upper body in the Florida Keys.
The animal reportedly struck the 55-year-old woman who fell backward and suffered a severe head trauma, reports CBS News station WFOR-TV in Miami.
Wildlife officials say the spotted eagle ray hit the woman in the face or neck while she was in a boat with her family Thursday. Her name and hometown aren't being released yet.
Officials say it's not clear whether the animal's barb struck her, or if the impact killed her. It's also not clear how big it was.
Spotted eagle rays can grow up to 17 feet in length, weigh up to 500 pounds and have a wingspan of up to 10 feet.
Eagle Rays live close to the coast in depths of 3 to 60 feet and in exceptional cases they are found as deep as 900 feet, reports WFOR-TV. It is most commonly seen along sandy beaches in very shallow waters.
The ray's two wings sometimes break the surface and giving the impression of two sharks traveling together.
They are known to occasionally jump out of the water but are not aggressive and use the venomous tip at the end of their tail as a defense mechanism.
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