Flying eagle ray lands on woman on boat in Florida Keys

43866.jpegAn 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 "scariest thing" that's ever happened to her, she said.

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, the captain of the boat. "These giant things go out of the water and slam back down," according to CNN.

"I'm absolutely shocked she was not injured," said FWC officer Aja Vickers, who responded to screams for help from the boat's captain, Kelly Klein. "The huge animal landed on top of her and was thrashing around trying to get off the boat."

The freak accident happened about 1 p.m. Friday on Whale Harbor Channel, which runs underneath U.S. 1 in Islamorada, connecting the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

Hausch, her husband David and their three children - Jake, 11; Ben, 10; and Delaney, 6 - had just finished snorkeling and collecting shells at the popular sandbar that runs along the deep channel.

"I see it quite a bit, especially around mating season when they are trying to show off," Vickers said.

Marine scientists don't know for sure, but they believe the rays jump - often 10 feet into the air - for two major reasons: to rid themselves of parasites that attach to rays, or to avoid predators such as sharks, reports.


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