Give a fish a bad name

By Calvin Palmer

The “barracuda” that left a woman in hospital after it allegedly bit her in the chest while she was kayaking in the Florida Keys yesterday turns out not to have been a barracuda at all.

The U.S. Coastguard originally reported that Karri Larson, 46 of Cudjoe Key, was bitten by a barracuda when it jumped into her kayak.

But Bobby Dube, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, dismissed the claim.

She has a punctured lung, and possibly broken ribs, said Dube.

“A puncture wound makes it highly unlikely the fish was a barracuda,” he said. “They have sharp teeth and cut like a knife. It could have been a hound fish, but nobody knows right now what in the ocean caused this.”

Larson was rescued by a tow boat and a paramedic administered first aid. She was later airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

The incident occurred in the mangroves near Big Pine Key, an area where the shallow water is popular with kayakers.

[Based on reports by The Miami Herald and Associated Press.]

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