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Man reveals stingray ordeal: 'Is this where I pass away?'

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 2 January 2019, 10:14a.m.
Jamie Cunningham is recovering at Southland Hospital after being attacked by a stingray at Oreti Beach. (Photo / Supplied)

A man's feels lucky to be alive after standing on a stingray and being stabbed by its barb in Southland.

Jamie Cunningham had been boogie-boarding at Oreti Beach on Saturday with his two boys when it happened.

He says he didn't see the stingray because the water was so sandy but must've stood on it, before its tail lashed him on the ribs under his left arm.

“It was like a whip coming out of the water, and I got this impact on the side of my body.”

Cunningham told Tim Dower it was terrifying at the time because he was in so much pain.

"You just think, crikey, is there where it all ends? Is this where I pass away?"

He says he stumbled up the beach looking for help, but there was a holidaying couple who work as paramedics, so they were able to treat him.

“The real frustrating thing was, with the toxins, it was becoming really hard to breathe. I remember trying to ask if my boys were alright, but I couldn’t string a sentence together because the tightness in my chest was so constrictive.”

He received deep puncture wounds in his rib cage area, the toxins affected his breathing, and he spent three nights in hospital.

Cunningham says he had to spend three nights in hospital and says the paramedics, ambulance officers, emergency department and critical care staff are the real heroes.

Cunningham says the medical staff who helped him were great.

"The parameds, the ambulance people, the emergency department, all these guys who work for the Southern District Health Board, they're the real heroes. I'm just a Scottish git who stood on a fish."

He says that he will go back in the water, but not likely for a few days. 

LISTEN TO JAMIE CUNNINGHAM TALK WITH TIM DOWER ABOVE

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