A record number of swimmers were stung by stingrays on Saturday in Huntington Beach, authorities said.
Officials said 176 people were injured by the creatures after swimming too far into the ocean during a low tide. The warm temperatures brought a high number of people to the water, contributing to the surged number of stings.
Due to a shift in weather conditions, there were only a few stingrays injuries reported on Sunday.
The Huntington Beach Fire Department issued warnings throughout the weekend to protect the public, said Lt. Eric Dieterman of the Marine Safety Division.
“We get out a pretty aggressive public safety campaign… advising folks to stay out of water if possible,” he said.
Lifeguards have been on standby to treat injured swimmers by soaking deep puncture wounds on the foot to relieve the pain.
The school of rays, also known as a ‘fever’, are usually found in shallow coastal waters in temperate seas. They spend most of their time partially buried in the sand, typically moving with the sway of the tide.
Lee Perkins, a Huntington Beach resident who was stung just two weeks ago, said he accidentally brushed up against a stingray and felt its tail puncture him.
“It’s definitely a searing nerve pain and it’s pretty intense,” Perkins said.
His injury later developed into a severe infection. Perkins said his 10-year-old son was swimming with him that day and that he’s grateful his little boy wasn’t hurt.