Spotted eagle rays aren't really supposed to fly, but a 300-pounder last month took flight in the Florida Keys to the surprise of a family from Crystal Lake.
Jenny Hausch was on a charter boat off the coast of Islamorada, Fla., when the giant ray propelled itself out of the ocean and landed on top of her.
"The next thing I know, I look and he's coming straight for me and knocked me down, hit me in the chest and I fell to the ground," Hausch recalled Wednesday from her home.
The marine body slam shocked everyone in the boat, who struggled to get the spotted eagle ray out of the boat and back into its habitat.
"The thing I remember most is the flopping sound it was making on top of me," she said.
It took the help of two Florida Fish and Wildlife officers who happened to be passing by the boat to get Hausch from under the animal and get the ray back in the water.
Rays are known to breach the water's surface, but usually hunt near the ocean floor for shrimp, crabs and other crustaceans.
Like most rays, spotted eagles are equipped with venomous spines in their tails.
Luckily, Hausch escaped with no injuries from her fish tale. The ray was also spared any injuries during his crash landing.
"Complete luck. I mean, it's no different than getting in a very bad accident and walking away," said Hausch's husband, Dave.