Needlefish Attacks Russian Tourist and Paralyzes Her

Needlefish stabs Russian tourist in the neck at a resort beach town in Vietnam.



Photo by Doug OlanderDoug Olander

Needlefish seem unassuming, but don't let their runty size fool you.

According to, a needlefish attacked a 44-year-old Russian woman while she was swimming off Vietnam's resort beach town of Nha Trang. She suffered severe neck and spinal-cord injuries in the waters off Hon Chong, an island off Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province.

The doctors of Khanh Hoa General Hospital saved her life after a seven-and-half-hour operation. The doctors removed pieces of fish bone and teeth still planted in the patient's neck.

Experts from the Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography confirmed that the bone and teeth were from a needlefish.

Last December, the Khanh Hoa General Hospital also saved the life of a local fisherman. A needlefish pierced the fisherman's throat, while he fished at sea.

Researchers have clocked needlefish at 38 mph; tigers have been clocked at the same top speed. Now imagine adding a 15-cm needle to that tiger's nose — that's the power of a striking needlefish.