A 73-year-old woman from Maryland has sustained an injury to her groin after an unfortunate incident with a 100-pound (45-kilogram) sailfish. Katherine Perkins was on holiday in Florida when she came under air-attack from the fish, according to a report by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office seen by the Guardian. Perkins' companion Louis Toth was reeling in the sailfish when "it began to charge at the boat", according to the report.
“Louis and Dominic [who were with Perkins on the boat] indicated the sailfish jumped out of the water and stabbed Katherine in the groin area while she was standing next to the center console.”
They put immediate pressure on the wound and took her back to shore, where she was airlifted to hospital. Perkins later told officers that “the incident occurred so fast she did not have time to react".
Sailfish can reach speeds of 109 kilometers per hour (68 miles per hour). Combine that with their sword-like bills, and it's easy to see they could cause serious injury if you were to get in their way.
"Our analyses show that sailfish use their bill to isolate and capture prey through two main attack strategies (i.e. tapping and slashing) and that bill-tip acceleration during slashing is comparable to the highest values ever recorded in any aquatic vertebrate, including both swimming and body part movements," one study wrote of the fish, adding that their prey – in this case sardines rather than a woman in her 70s – lack the reaction time to be able to avoid strikes by the thrashing of the sailfish's bill.