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She was wading in knee-deep water at this Florida beach. Then came a barbed sea creature

GoFundMe screenshot/Thomas O’Brien

A Florida woman remained hospitalized Friday after a harrowing day at the beach near Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

Kristie O’Brien told Fox 13 News she was wading in knee-deep water at Bahia Beach in Ruskin and leaned back to get her hair wet, when she suddenly felt intense pain.

A stingray had pierced her back with its poisonous barb — and it was still clinging on.

“I was trying to stay as calm as I could, but I was certain that I was going to die,” said O’Brien, who couldn’t help but think of the late crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, who had a fatal encounter with a stingray in the Great Barrier Reef in 2006.

But O’Brien, a traveling nurse, didn’t die. Emergency crews used shears to cut the fish at the base of its tail, where the stinger is located, and rush her to the hospital.

A picture on a GoFundMe page set up by her husband for her continuing medical care shows the venomous spine still embedded in the Apollo Beach woman’s upper back.

The fundraiser, asking for $5,000, says the barb penetrated about three inches, narrowly missing her lung. Nerve damage is possible, but it’s “too soon to tell.”

So how likely are you to be impaled by a stingray?

Not very, according to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, which says attacks on humans are rare.

Commonly found buried in the shallow coastal waters of temperate seas, the non-aggressive fish usually don’t bother you if you don’t bother them, as in step on them.

To avoid a run-in, the agency recommends you do the so called Stingray Shuffle: not lifting up your feet as you walk in the water so they sense your presence and move away.