Australian swimmer dies after rare stingray attack in Tasmania

Canberra: An Australian man died after he was attacked by a stingray off a beach in Tasmania, the first known fatality of its kind in the area, authorities said on Sunday.

The 42-year-old victim was swimming at Lauderdale, about 13 km east of Hobart, when he “sustained a puncture wound to his lower abdomen… possibly inflicted by a marine animal”, police said.

His death came more than a decade after world-renowned “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin was killed when a stingray barb punctured his chest while he was filming on the famed Great Barrier Reef.

“Attempts to resuscitate the male were unsuccessful… He was removed from the water by friends prior to the arrival of emergency services,” a police statement said.

Locals told the Sunday Tasmanian that the man swam frequently at the beach.

Waters off the island state are known to contain a number of stingray species, with the animals said to frequent the Lauderdale area. Commonly found in tropical waters, stingrays are a flattish, diamond-shaped fish that rarely attack humans.

But their barbs, at the end of their tails, are coated in toxic venom which they use to defend themselves when threatened. Most injuries result from people stepping on them in shallow water and getting a barb in the ankle, experts say.

(With inputs from Agencies)