Imagine swimming in the Gulf of Mexico when suddenly you are hit without warning in the face by a diving pelican. I guess it was really hungry to dive for human beings instead of fish.

This is what happened in Tampa Florida to Debbie Shoemaker Thursday while swimming just off Treasure Island. According to Tampa Bay online, it ripped through her cheek with its footlong beak.

The collision resulted in Shoemaker needing 25 stitches. Unfortunately though, the poor Pelican paid with its life. Reports are that it died on impact. Shoemaker was given pain medicine and antibiotics and can not eat solid foods right now.

I was born and raised in New Orleans and have been on the water basically my entire life and never have I ever heard of such a thing.
Pelicans, which typically weigh about 6 pounds and are known for their distinctive long bills and droopy pouches, do not attack humans. They dive straight down, beak first, when they’re going after a fish, said Anita Pinder, director of development at Sanibel Island’s Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, which works a lot with pelicans.

“He either saw a fish and went for it or mistook her for a fish. I think the former is much more likely,” Pinder said.

Jan Barrett

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