Tourist impaled in the neck by needlefish while swimming at Thailand beach

photo via องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลบางปิด Facebook

A needlefish impaled a tourist in the neck while he was swimming at a popular beach in Thailand on Thursday. Careful not to remove the needlefish from his neck, lifeguards gave the man first aid on Ao Tan Khu beach in the eastern province of Trat by Cambodia before taking him to a local hospital at around 1pm. Local officials are now warning swimmers to watch out for the needlefish.

Needlefish, found in shallow warm waters, have elongated bodies and long, narrow jaws filled with very sharp teeth, similar to a swordfish. The strange fish, which can live in both saltwater and freshwater, can travel up to 60 kilometres per hour and is adept at jumping high up out of the water.

Needlefish are generally not considered a danger to humans because attacks are few and far between. However, when they do attack, it can be fatal. In 2018, a 23 year old Thai marine bled to death after a needlefish stabbed him in the neck during naval training, also in Trat province.

In Indonesia back in 2020, a 16 year old boy survived a freak needlefish attack while he was out fishing with his friend at night. A needlefish jumped out of the water and completely impaled his neck, leaving the 30-inch fish’s sharp snout sticking out the other side of his neck. The fish was surgically removed and the teenager recovered. He said the fish attacked him because he shone a flashlight into the water. The fish is known to get excited by artificial light at nighttime.

The needlefish, known as pla tek leng in Thai, is often found off the coast of Trat and in the Gulf of Thailand.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times | India Today|Top News

Thailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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