A child under 10 was rushed to hospital on Monday after being stabbed in the chest by a catfish.
The child was impaled by catfish spines while on a fishing trip in Florida, Corey Dierdorff confirmed to The Sun.
The incident happened in New Port Richey. Firefighters said that as the child’s mother rushed the victim to a nearby hospital, the youngster gasped.
After the mother called 911, Pasco Fire Rescue responded and listed the child as a trauma alert.
The young victim was then airlifted to St. Joseph Hospital in Tampa.
Dierdorff said the child remained in stable condition in hospital.
He noted that it is not known if the catfish were poisonous.
Pasco Fire Rescue took to Twitter to share helicopter pictures transport the child.
Reply to another Twitter user, Pasco Fire Department explained: “The child was stabbed in the chest by the stinger of the catfish.
“The stinger entered the chest cavity approximately 1-1.5 inches and caused shortness of breath. We hope for a speedy recovery.”
Speaking to WTSP-TV, Dierdorff called the child’s situation “very strange”.
He told the outlet: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like it.
“You hear of a fisherman who might be cut by a beard or hit in the back of the leg and get an infection, but never heard of a penetrating chest.”
Although it’s not known if the fish that attacked the child was venomous, a 2009 National Geographic report found that half of more than 3,000 species of catfish are venomous.
Jeremy Wright’s study of the venom and microscopic tissue structures of 158 species of catfish “concluded that at least 1,250 to 1,625 species of catfish are likely venomous,” Nat Geo wrote.
Wright said poisonous North American catfish have “relatively mild venom” and some species, such as flathead catfish, are not poisonous.
He said catfish venom is only used for defense, not for hunting.
Nat Geo added: “When a catfish feels threatened by a larger fish, it may pull out the bendable spines that are usually near its sides, making its body wider and harder to swallow.
“If the predator bites anyway, the sharp thorns sever its mouth.
“Meanwhile, pressure on the spines causes them to move at their bases, tearing the skin over adjacent venom glands. The venom spreads out and enters the predator’s mouth wounds.
This story originally appeared on The sun and has been reproduced here with permission.