Toothy Terror on the Gulf

A Florida family says their fishing trips will never be the same after the terror they experienced when a large barracuda jumped into their boat and chomped their teenage daughter's arm last week.

Rob Parker was fishing with his family on the Gulf of Mexico about 10:30 in the morning when a 45-inch barracuda leapt into the boat and began biting his 14-year-old daughter Wira's arm.

The Parkers were fishing for barracuda and shark about 4 miles off the coast of Venice, Fla. when the June 27 incident occurred.

Wira Parker's knife-like injuries--on her left arm from wrist-to-elbow--required 51 stitches.

"It was like out of 'Jaws,' it was that scary," Wira's mother Dina Parker told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. "It was the most terrifying thing I've ever been through. I've never been so scared in my life."

After the initial biting attack, the toothy fish continued flopping, trying to latch its jaws onto anything in sight. As the fish was on its side, Rob Parker kneeled down behind it and lethally stabbed it between its eyes with a filet knife.

"I couldn't do it again if I tried," he said later.

When it was over, Parker said he found his bait and hook inside the barracuda's mouth, though he'd never set the hook and it hadn't penetrated the predator's mouth. Parker surmised fish went after the bait and then jumped at least four feet into the air, landing in the boat.

"It's the craziest thing that's ever happened to me in my life," said Parker.