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Stingray Kills Woman - How Common are These Accidents?

Freak accident ruins a family's vacation

Judy Kay Zagorski was enjoying a boat trip in the Florida Keys, when a spotted-eagle ray, similar to a sting ray, leapt from the water. Judy was knocked backwards from the front of the boat (where she is believed to have been standing) and it was a massive blow to the head which killed her.

Friends and family in Judy's native Michigan are reeling with shock that the Zagorski's vacation could Freak Boating AccidentFreak Boating Accidenthave gone so wrong. A Florida vacation is usually a safe bet, but freak accidents with spotted-eagle rays have happened before.

Florida Fish and Wildlife told CNN that eagle rays "are not an aggressive species" although at least three others, including Steve Irwin have died from incidents involving the creatures.

It's hard to predict where vacation dangers may strike - certainly there was nothing that Judy could have done more wisely.

Wherever your vacation takes you, your best protection is to be aware and be prepared.

In waters where the spotted-eagle ray dwells, travels should be wary of the fact that they "tend to leap from the water" according to Florida Fish and Wildlife. And with a weight of up to 500lbs, that's nothing to sneeze at.

Consider the chances of running into an airborne eagle ray similar to a bird swooping in front of your windshield. Be prepared to stay calm, but swerve around the massive creature.

Unfortunately, even if Zagorski's husband had been watching for rays, this one came in front of the boat when they were already too close to swerve.

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