I almost died from a stingray attack after my lung collapsed – but now it makes a good story down the pub

A MAN has nearly died from a stingray attack after his lung collapsed – he thinks it now makes a good story down at the pub.

Jamie Cunningham, 48, was enjoying a relaxing day at an Otago, New Zealand beach with the family when he felt an “excruciating pain” in his right food.


SJamie Cunningham, 48, almost died when he was attacked by a stingrayCredit: .
The stingray struck Jamie while he was enjoying a day at the beach with his family


The stingray struck Jamie while he was enjoying a day at the beach with his familyCredit: Getty

The man said the pain was like “when you stand on a piece of Lego and your leg gives way”.

He told Otago Daily News about the 2018 attack: “Next thing I knew this thing hit me like a steel bar in the ribs under my left arm and I’ve just gone down.

“I just saw it out of the corner of my eye, it was like a whip.”

That’s when Jamie noticed a “fairly big” stingray under his right foot.

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He managed to drag himself from the shoreline but when his wife Christine asked why he was clutching his ribs, he moved his hands to reveal an gaping “raw meat” open wound.

Thankfully, Jamie was able to get the attention of two passers-by, who happened to be paramedics. They stemmed the blood flow and called an ambulance.

But the killer beast’s toxins had already spread across his body, leaving him breathless whilst his left foot became swollen and purple.

He was rushed to Southland Hospital where doctors inserted a tube into him and drained his fluids and found his lung had collapsed as a result of the attack.

He was given strong medication and was able to slowly recover.

Jamie’s thorax injury proved to be so rare it featured in a medical journal on Friday.

The article, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, claimed that with changes in water temps caused by climate change, there could be an increase in the dangerous creatures lurking in New Zealand waters, causing more horror attacks.

Luckily for Jamie, he was able to recover with the help of a live-saving drug treatment, where others, like the late Aussie wildlife lover Steve Irwin, didn’t.

And that’s because there is no anti-venom for stingray toxin, which remains a poorly understood phenomenon to this day.

Victims will usually experience horror symptoms like sweating, loss of consciousness caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain, nausea, diarrhoea and hypotension as the venom slowly eats away their body tissue.

But for Jamie, the attack makes for a stellar pub story with mates.

“But it’s a good pub story isn’t it, and I’ll have a good scar to prove it.”

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However, he urged people at the beach to keep an eye on their kids.

He said stingrays aren’t normally aggressive but if you’re in muddy water, you should bury your feet in the sand to create noise to scare the rays away.

Jamie's wounds were so rare they featured in a New Zealand medical journal


Jamie’s wounds were so rare they featured in a New Zealand medical journalCredit: .
The stingray attacked his feet and chest


The stingray attacked his feet and chestCredit: .

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