Warm weather, ocean blamed for O.C. stingray attacks
Those who surf -- or simply wade into the ocean -- are under attack by stingrays in Orange County, according to Huntington Beach lifeguards.
Unusually warm weather and ocean temperatures are to blame for an outbreak of painful injuries, six times the normal rate, officials said.
"You'd be amazed at how many stingrays there are out there. They tend to be more spread out, but when the waves are small, they all come in close to shore and get bunched in there," Huntington Beach marine safety Lt. Mike Beuerlein told the Orange County Register.
During the last weekend of October when a heat wave sent thousands of people to the beach, lifeguards treated 64 stingray injuries, the newspaper reported. At one point, 14 patients were treated simultaneously.
The injury occurs when a stingray's barb punctures a swimmer's skin and releases a toxin that can cause severe, spreading pain.
-- Bob Pool
Photo: Stingrays are pulled ashore in a fishing net in Seal Beach. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times