BEIJING, May 12 (Xinhuanet) -- A 50-year-old woman was
attacked by a diving pelican when she was swimming in the sea off Florida, media
Debbie Shoemaker of Toledo, Ohio, was swimming
Thursday near Treasure Island, west of St. Petersburg, when a pelican suddenly
crashed into her face, leaving a wide gash on her cheek. The collision also cost
the bird's life.
The woman was immediately hospitalized and had to
have 25 stitches to close the three-inch gash in her face. "It was like somebody
took their fist as hard as they could and smashed it into the side of your
face," Shoemaker said.
"The event just keeps happening in my mind over and
over and over," She added. "It could've gotten my eyes. It could've gotten my
throat. It could've knocked me out in the water."
Shoemaker returned to her home in Ohio on
Friday, where she may face plastic surgery. She is currently recovering from the
"He either saw a fish and went for it or mistook her
for a fish. I think the former is much more likely," said Anita Pinder, director
of development at Sanibel Island's Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife.
"The person had nothing to do with it; she was simply in the wrong place at the
wrong time because they pelicans clearly do not attack."