Was a Snorkeler Killed by a Black Marlin?

Asian news sources are reporting a marlin skewered an Indonesian snorkeler.

January 11, 2016

Was a woman killed by a black marlin while she snorkeled in shallow water an Indonesian beach?

According to a report published in various Asian news sources, the woman was killed it “attacked her with its sharp bill.” The 39-year-old woman died in the hospital.

However, toward the end of the brief account, is this: “…the black marlin that attacked the victim was the size of a man’s arm.” Lacking any visual identification of the fish, and given that the unprovoked attack occurred near a sandy beach, it may well have been an entirely different species. Large needlefish (houndfish or longtoms) — as shown in the second photo — for example have been known to seriously injure swimmers, presumably while darting along the surface after prey or to escape a predator.

Did the bill of a black marlin like this kill a woman just off a beach, in an unprovoked attack? Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Could this have been the culprit?

Some needlefish species can grow to far more than the length of a man’s arm and, dashing headlong at the surface with their sharp beak-like mouths shut, have been known to injure swimmers. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

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