Indonesian teenager survives getting speared in the neck by needlefish

A 16-year-old boy named Muhammad Idul from Wakinamboro village in the South Buton regency of Southeast Sulawesi miraculously survived after a needlefish speared him in the neck with its snout when he went fishing on Saturday night. Photos: Istimewa
A 16-year-old boy named Muhammad Idul from Wakinamboro village in the South Buton regency of Southeast Sulawesi miraculously survived after a needlefish speared him in the neck with its snout when he went fishing on Saturday night. Photos: Istimewa

A 16-year-old boy named Muhammad Idul from Wakinamboro village in the South Buton regency of Southeast Sulawesi miraculously survived a freak accident when he went fishing on Saturday night. 

Idul’s father, Saharuddin, told local news outlets that his son has taken up fishing on the weekends as a hobby. Idul was on one of his fishing adventures last weekend, when a needlefish (known as a “sori” in local dialect) suddenly leaped out of the water and speared Idul in the neck with its snout, knocking him off his boat. 

Photos of the gruesome injury showed that the fish had pierced Idul from under the left side of his chin through the back of his neck, just below his skull.

Idul managed to get to the surface and walk home, his right hand gripping the fish while its snout was still stuck in his neck, staunching the wound. He was then taken to a hospital in nearby Baubau city, but the doctor there did not take a risk in removing the fish’s snout from Idul’s neck due to limited equipment.

Idul was then transferred to a hospital in Makassar, where he underwent a delicate surgery procedure yesterday morning, which reportedly went on for about an hour and involved six surgeons.

Idul is now reportedly in recovery and under close supervision to prevent potential infections. He is expected to remain in hospital for about a week.

Needlefish-related incidents are rare around the world. However, one of those rare incidents occurred quite recently in the region, when a needlefish killed a Thai naval officer in 2018 after it impaled him in his collarbone with its dagger-like snout in an apparent freak accident.

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