It began as a simple fishing outing for a family of three out of Venice, Florida.
But chaos and horror ensued in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday morning when a great barracuda leaped through the air and clamped onto the arm of 14-year-old Koral Wira, as she was sitting in a shaded spot feeling a little queasy.
Few species of fish boast such impressive chompers. The 45-inch barracuda left Wira’s arm looking like raw hamburger, according to a story by Chris Anderson in the Herald Tribune.
Hooked barracuda have leaped onto boats during their struggle on the line, and free-swimming barracuda have bitten swimmers wearing shiny objects, but the type of attack involving Wira is extremely rare.
“It was like a scene out of ‘Jaws,’ it was that scary,” said Dina Parker, Wira’s mother.
“We’ll never go back out there again. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever been through. I’ve never been so scared in my life.”
Wira, who was named after the sea and its tranquility, required 51 stitches to close lacerations from her elbow to her wrist. “At first I didn’t notice because it happened so fast,” she told the Florida newspaper. “Then I looked down and there was blood everywhere.”
Rob Parker, Wira’s father, said the fish leaped four feet clear of the water and onto the boat immediately after taking his bait, although it had not been hooked.
“It looked like the scariest fish I’ve ever seen; it looked evil, just a mean-looking fish, all business,” Dina Parker said.
The barracuda quickly let go of Wira’s arm, which Rob Parker wrapped with his Boston Red Sox T-shirt before grabbing a fillet knife and stabbing it between the eyes.
He then looked up to see there was blood everywhere on the boat. “Put it this way, it looked like a crime scene,” he said.
Photos of Koral Wira courtesy of Rob Parker, via the Herald Tribune