An Australian swimmer has died following a suspected stingray attack, according to reports.
The 42-year-old man was attended to by emergency services at Lauderdale Beach in Tasmania after suffering “a puncture wound to his lower abdomen,” according to a police statement.
The man, who was swimming alone at the time of the attack, was dragged to shore by friends before emergency services arrived. He died after attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
“Initial indications are that the wound was possibly inflicted by a marine animal although the incident is not shark related,” the statement said. News reports later suggested that the injury was caused by a stingray.
The man was identified by Australia’s national broadcaster ABC as Nicolas Ricketts, a plumber who had previously served in the Australian Navy.
The beach, about 10 miles from the Tasmanian capital of Hobart, is a popular swimming spot but also known for stingrays and skates.
Stingray attacks on humans are extremely rare, according to marine biologist Peter Last, who was quoted in the ABC report.
One of the most famous attacks happened in 2006, when Steve Irwin, the TV presenter known as the “Crocodile Hunter,” died after a stingray barb went through his chest, in a marine accident off Australia’s north coast.