Warm waters bring two stingray injuries in as many weeks

Two people have been injured by stingrays in two weeks. Credit: Newshub.

A man and a child are both lucky to have escaped with little injury after two separate stingray incidents in recent weeks.

Eleven-year-old Kadin Knuckey's curiosity nearly got the best of him on Thursday when he got a little too close to a stingray on Tokerau Beach, Northland.

The ray's barb pierced right through the side of his hand.

"It was like a dozen hooks digging into your skin and not letting go," Kadin said of the pain.

"Or a dozen bees stinging you and going and going and going."

Kadin isn't alone. Two weeks earlier and 12 hours south, Reece Atkinson was also 'barbed' at Riversdale Beach in the Wairarapa.

At first the 31-year-old diver wasn't sure how serious it was.

"I'm sort of thinking we can fix this with a bandage!" he told Newshub. 

It was only when he noticed that a stingray barb had gone right through his leg that he understood the gravity of the situation.

What was meant to be a diving trip with a friend quickly turned into a journey on the rescue helicopter to Wellington Hospital.

Despite these incidents, marine scientist Clinton Duffy says the fish aren't aggressive, just "defensive".

"They'll generally move out of the way and avoid you, they're only really a hazard when you stand on them," he said.

It may seem like stingray injuries are becoming more common, but he insists it's just the season.

"At this time of the year they move into the shallow water. Stingrays and quite a number of other fish, including sharks, move into warmer water to breed at this time of the year."

Kadin and Mr Atkinson are recovering well from their injuries, but both say they'll take extra care the next time they venture out in the water this summer.


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