Lifeguards at Huntington Beach in Southern California say they’ve never seen anything like it. A horde of stingrays has taken up residence in the shallow water off the popular beach, injuring a record 73 people Friday with their sharp spines.
“We’re infested,” Marine Safety Lt. Claude Panis told The Orange County Register. “That’s just how many we treated. In my 40 years, that’s as many as I’ve had in a single day. It’s a problem.”
Low tides, small surf, warmer water and a holiday weekend created “a formula for disaster,” Paris said. On Thursday, 45 people reported stingray injuries on the beach. People are typically injured when they step on the stingrays, which hide just beneath the sand in shallow water. The flat fish then lash out with their tails, which carry a sharp stinger at the end.
“It’s extremely painful,” Paris told the publication. “It will ruin your day, you’ll end up going home and sticking your foot in hot water all day.”
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He said anyone injured by a stingray also should follow up with a doctor to prevent infection.
“My buddy’s dad got stung really bad, both legs,” one beachgoer told KCAL. “It’s really bad.”
Lifeguard Jakob Kress told the station that swimmers should shuffle their feet while walking into the water to stir up sand and frighten off lurking stingrays.