Udupi/Mangaluru, Sept 13: Beachgoers in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada must exercise restraint and watch where they step when wading in sea water at least for next couple of weeks as the dangerous stingrays are back. The chances are that visitors might get stung by these cartilaginous fishes that swim close to the shore.
In the last few days, nearly a dozen people have suffered injuries after being stung by the stingrays at Malpe beach in Udupi district. In September, 2014 around 60 tourists were reportedly stung by stingrays at the same beach.
According to Sudesh Shetty, leaseholder, Malpe beach, all necessary precautionary measures have already been taken. Lifeguards in the beach have kept the vaccines ready to counter the effect of the sting. A board also has been installed warning people against stepping into the sea.
Even though no such incidents have been report from other beaches in the region so far, experts have urged the tourists and locals to be cautious while venturing into the sea across coastal Karnataka. Experts say that semi-grown stingrays make their way into craters developed on the shores due to the absence of rip currents.
Yathish Baikampady, CEO, Panambur Beach Tourism Development Project, said that normally during this season lifeguards will not let tourists venture into the water as they are aware of the situation.
Attacks if provoked
In fact stingrays are not usually aggressive and attack humans only when provoked, such as if a ray is accidentally stepped on. To avoid stepping on a stingray in shallow water, the water should be waded through with a shuffle. Alternatively, before wading, small stones can be thrown into the water to scare stingrays away.
Contact with the stinger causes local trauma (from the cut itself), pain, swelling, muscle cramps from the venom, and later may result in infection from bacteria or fungi. The injury is very painful, but seldom life-threatening unless the stinger pierces a vital area. The barb usually breaks off in the wound, and surgery may be required to remove the fragments.
It could be recalled here that Australian zookeeper and television personality Steve Irwin was also a victim of stingray. He lost his life on September 4, 2006, within minutes after being pierced in the heart by a stingray barb while filming an underwater documentary.
Beware of dangerous stingrays at beaches of Udupi, Mangaluru