SAN DIEGO—Stingray attacks sent three swimmers to the hospital and injured over 80 swimmers during a two day span at La Jolla Shores to Torrey Pines, lifeguards reported.
Lifeguards said it's not unusual to see a high number of stings a couple of day a year, but this many stings in such a short period of time is very rare.
"It was unusual that so many at one time were effected," said Sgt. Sgt. John Sandmeyer with San Diego Lifeguards.
Medics transported three patients -- including a 16-year-old boy and a 21-year-old woman, both of whom reported having trouble breathing after getting stabbed by rays' barbed tails -- to emergency rooms and treated the other victims at the waterfront.
"It just it just killed," said Eric Brown who was surfing at Blacks Beach at the time he was stung on the side of his foot. "It's the worst pain I've felt."
Lifeguards say the stingray attacks could last a couple of day so swimmers need to be especially careful and remember to shuffle their feet in the water to keep from stepping on them.
All along Southern California, lifeguards have reported these sea creature injures in the last 30 days.
Lifeguard Chief Joe Bailey said 87 people in Seal Beach have been stung and they have set up first-aid stations in the area for swimmers and surfers who get stung.
One-third of the nation's stingray injuries have been reported along Seal Beach, according to Bailey. He said the stingrays were attracted to the area because of warmer water near the mouth of the San Gabriel River. A power plant located in the beach city raises ocean temperatures slightly, making for an appealing environment for the bottom-dwellers, Baily said.
Up to 500 stings were reported in Seal Beach in 2008 -- the highest number in a decade and nearly double the recorded number of stings in 2006. Experts at Cal State Long Beach said anywhere from 16,000 to 40,000 stingrays make a home in Seal Beach waters.
Bailey said lifeguards are putting up signs near the west end of the pier warning swimmers and surfers about the stingray danger.
He advises swimmers to do the "stingray shuffle" when entering the water, which involves keeping feet planted in the sand and moving them back and forth.
If you are stung, putting your foot in a bucket of hot water will neutralize the ray's venom, Bailey said.