Close Encounters Man vs. Nature

Harmless fun with a catfish nearly turns deadly

A 13-year-old boy was impaled in neck by sharp spine when fish wiggled in mother’s hand as she joked about fish giving son a kiss

barb closeup

What seemed like harmless fun involving a live catfish nearly turned deadly when the sharp spine of a catfish impaled a 13-year-old boy in the neck, coming just a couple of centimeters from puncturing a main artery. “I thought I was going to die,” Aiden Menchaca told KATV of the incident during a Father’s Day fishing outing in Maumelle, Arkansas. KATV, the ABC affiliate in Little Rock, has the story:

KATV – Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

The barb the video talks about is actually a razor-sharp spine, found on the dorsal fin and pectoral fins of catfish.

Melissa Menchaca, Aiden’s mother, was joking around as she held the slippery catfish near her son.

“I wanted to give him a kiss,” she explained. “He got nervous, the fish flopped, and it smacked him on the neck.”

catfish

Aiden said it didn’t hurt until he realized the sharp spine was in his neck.

“When I got stuck, I screamed like a girl as loud as I can,” he told KATV.

Melissa was going to pull the spine out until she saw a bulging artery. She left the spine in place and immediately phoned for help.

“It seemed like forever for 911 to come,” she said. “It was a nightmare.”

When paramedics arrived, they were said to have been surprised at what they saw. They were forced to wait 30 minutes until the fish calmed down before they were able to cut the fin and airlift Aiden to Arkansas Children’s Hospital where the spine was safely removed. An ultrasound revealed how close Aiden came to possibly dying.

Thankfully, the incident had a happy ending, but it taught Aiden, whose new nickname is Catfish, a valuable lesson.

“Not to mess around with fish,” he told KATV.

Photos are screen grabs from KATV’s report.

Hat tip to Field and Stream