ISLAMORADA (CBS4) — What started as a spectacular weekend boating trip off the coast of Islamorada turned into a frightening experience for a family when a giant spotted eagle ray jumped into their boat and knocked a woman to the deck.
Charter boat captain Kelly Klein, of Two Chicks Charters, had the surprise of a lifetime when the 200-pound spotted eagle ray jumped into the boat and landed on Jenny Hausch, where she became stuck under the giant marine animal.
“It jumped out, they say it was probably two to three hundred pounds and I fell backwards,” explained Jenny Hausch to CBS4’S Ted Scouten.
Click here to see a photo gallery of the giant spotted eagle ray.
Hausch, a tourist from Chicago, is one lucky lady after her run in with the giant spotted eagle ray.
“I just remember pushing it away with my hands and scooting backwards,” said Hausch.
Her husband and three children watched stunned, not believing what was happening in front of them.
“I was freaked out,” said Delaney Hausch. “How could that happen without something very, very bad happening?” said Jenny’s youngest daughter.
Delaney and the rest of her family were worried with good reason. Last year, a woman died after the same thing happened to her off Marathon.
“We’re just very grateful, had it been a foot higher, the results would be very different,” said Jenny Hausch.
Wildlife officials were on the scene in seconds. They say something like this is very rare.
“This was not an attack, these things are not looking to have a little human meal,” said Florida Wildlife officer Aja Vickers. “It’s a one in a million chance and it’s just amazing that it happened to them.”
The boat captain was pretty shaken up too.
“The ray was slamming this way and slamming that way and she was trying to crawl backwards out from under it but it kept landing on her,” said Captain Kelly Klein.
As soon as it happened, Klein quickly moved all of the children to safety in the back of the boat while the giant ray tried to get back into the water, with Jenny still underneath.
“We had just passed the boat and we heard screaming. Officer Aja Vickers turned around and said ‘it’s in the boat,'” said Officer Brett Swensson of the Florida Wildlife Conservation Committee.
When the officers got to the boat, they saw the giant ray and began to work to get it out of the boat.
No one was hurt in the attack, but Captain Klein had a unique take on the incident.
“My motto is, when you get Two Chicks charter boat, it’s a no drama cruise and boy they messed up that whole thing,” she said.
Wildlife officers managed to get the ray back into the water, apparently none the worse for the adventure.