July 25 (UPI) — A 73-year-old woman is recovering after a 100-pound sailfish leapt out of the water and stabbed her on a fishing boat off the Florida coastline as her companions tried to reel in the large fish.
The woman, from Maryland, was with two men last Tuesday about two miles off the coast near Stuart, Fla., when they caught the sailfish on a fishing line, according to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.
As they reeled it in, the anglers told deputies the sailfish started to charge the boat and eventually jumped out of the water impaling the woman in the groin area as she stood near the center console.
Sailfish are known for their acrobatic jumps and are among the fastest fish in the ocean reaching speeds of up to 68 miles per hour, according to Ocean Conservancy. They can measure anywhere from six to 11 feet in length and often use their long, pointed bills to attack prey.
“Our results demonstrate that the combination of stealth and rapid motion make the sailfish bill an extremely effective feeding adaptation for capturing schooling prey,” according to a study in the Royal Society Publishing.
The woman, identified as Katherine Perkins, told deputies the attack happened so quickly she didn’t have time to react.
The men put pressure on the wound and returned to shore where Perkins was airlifted to HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital.
The hospital reported Sunday she was in good condition, according to CNN.
The sailfish is Florida’s state saltwater fish. Sailfish can tire easily after a long fight to survive and should be revived, according to Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, prompting most anglers to revive and release them.