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It’s Attack Of The Stingrays At Huntington Beach

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HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — In addition to “Surf’s up!” the thing you most often will hear at Huntington Beach these days is “Watch your step!” or “Owwww!”

Huntington Beach is reporting a record number of stingray attacks.

KCAL9 and CBS2 reporter Michele Gile spoke to a number of beach goers who have had some scary, and painful, encounters.

She explains conditions at the beach have been rife for the number of attacks going skyward: warm and calm water.

Longboarder Gary Sahagen said, “It’s pretty scary. You can feel them when you’re shuffling in the water. Of if you fall off your board and you could land on one. They can sting pretty bad.”

Compared with 253 stingray injuries in all of 2011, there have already been 444 incidents this year … with a month and a half to go.

Huntington Beach lifeguard Mike Baumgartner said, “We have a visitation that varies between 9 and 11 million people a year. And as we have a lot more tourism based destination activities, we have people in the water year round at times we wouldn’t have had anybody in the water.”

A few weekends ago, Gile said 64 people were stung between Saturday and Sunday. Lifeguards are trained to immerse the injured hand or foot in hot water. Gile said at one point, 14 people were lined up — in great pain — just to get relief.

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